The days are dark but growing lighter as the sunrises I see from my bedroom window each morning -waking me with goldenrod, periwinkle and honeysuckle - come a little earlier each day.
February 2 is Candlemas
also known as Imbolc,
Bridig, Brigit, and the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
Originally this holiday was of mostly Celtic and northern European origins. This was the time of year when the milk began flowing again after the birth of the baby goats. It was a time when the light was growing stronger and we celebrated the waxing sun as the light of spring becomes visible through the chill of winter.
In Ireland they celebrate Saint Brigid, the midwife and foster mother of Jesus Christ at this time of year. In the Eastern Orthodox Church this holiday is known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. In the gospel of Luke, chapter two we read the story of Joseph and Mary presenting the baby Jesus at the Temple 40 days after his birth, which was the custom at the time.
They offered two turtle doves and two young pigeons for a sacrifice. Simeon, the Righteous, assesses baby Jesus at this time and prophesieds of the redemption of the world brought forth by Christ. A prophetess named Anna also makes similar prophesies.
Saint Brigid became associated with this holiday when Christianity reached Ireland. Saint Brigid was the daughter of a pagan chief. She grew up to become one of the only female Bishops (or Abesses) of the early church.
She is called Brigid, Brigit, Bride,
Abbess of Kildare,
midwife of Christ,
Mary of the Gael and Noamh Brid.
She founded a school for art and metal work during her life. She was tied into this holiday as the midwife of Jesus and foster mother of our Lord.
Her sacred flame is still tended in Kildare to this day.
Candlemas is a time of many things and can be celebrated many ways. It is a time when the ground is awakening after it's long winter's nap. It is a time of purification and renewal. Some people remove their Christmas decorations this day. Fire, candle making, sacred flames, bowls of fresh cream and milk, colors of red and orange as well as Brigid dolls made from straw are all festive and traditional ways to mark this day.
Here are some ideas of ways to celebrate this day.
A visit to the Temple