The celebration of CANDLEMAS (Feb 2nd) marks ‘The purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary’, as told in Luke 2:22-40, which took place 40 days after giving birth to Jesus. It was believed, and still is in some parts of the world, that a woman who has given birth is unclean and by religious law she must be ritually purified in her place of worship. The mikveh(ritual bath ) is still used by Jewish women today although many modern Jewish feminists critique the practice as degrading and misogynistic and have sought to revise the practice of mikveh. Some seeing it more a space for renewal, healing and contemplation rather than a place for a woman to ‘become clean again’ after menstruation or childbirth. It is most probable that many of Candlemas’ activities originate from pagan observances such as IMBOLC, a Gaelic festival Also the Roman feast of Lupercalia , which was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman annual festival, observed in the city of Rome on February 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia took over from Februa, an earlier-origin spring cleansing ritual held on the same date, which gives the name to the month of February,meaning ‘to purify’. Nowadays the Christian emphasis at Candlemas is on the ‘light of candles’ representing Jesus, the Light of the World . Candles are blessed in churches for use in the coming year.The ancient practice of immersion in water to spiritually purify and cleanse is used by many religions and spiritual practices.
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.