|Wikipedia Image of Snowdrop|
Surfing the net this morning, since we're having another snow storm and can't get out, I came across a few references to a religious holiday called Candlemas. Today is Feb. 2-- Ground Hog Day. No one's talking about Ground Hog Day, probably because the groundhog can't get out with all the snow on top of his den. But what happened to Candlemas?
I don't know. I don't know what happened to going to church to get our throats blessed tomorrow, either. Tomorrow is the feast of St. Blaise.
I don't see any information that these customs have been forbidden. Then why are they not promoted? The only reason I can see is lack of attendance. People didn't go to them anymore. Also, maybe there aren't enough priests to administer these sacramentals. Maybe it's a combination of both.
Since today is Candlemas, let's see what that's about. Candlemas is all about Jesus being the Light of the World. Today is Jesus' Feast of the Presentation, where the prophet Simon recognized Jesus. Count this also as a noteworthy occasion because it is the first time Jesus goes into a temple. Also, it marks Mary's purification, which mothers did after birth.
So it is appropriate to have a candle lit procession to process into Mass. Many people brought their candles to church to do this. Hence, the priests probably blessed all the candles the laity brought with them. This is why this day is named Candlemas.
A beautiful symbol of Candlemas is the flower, snowdrop. Snowdrops (galanthas nivalis) are known as Candlemas Bells because they often bloom early in the year, even before Candlemas. Some varieties bloom all winter (in the northern hemisphere). The superstitious used to believe that these flowers should not be brought into the house prior to Candlemas. However, it is also believed in more recent times that these flowers purify a home.