Fonticulus Fides

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A blessed Candlemas to all!

Fr. Jim Tucker at Dappled Things pointed me to The Lion and the Cardinal regarding today's feast, the Presentation of the Lord, and some of the traditional Catholic origins of the whole Groundhog's Day legend. Do, please, go take a look, if only to gaze upon the beautiful icon for today's feast.

For those of you who may not know it (converts like me, who are still learning the many facets of this rich faith), it's called Candlemas because beeswax candles are blessed for the year during the Mass. On the Fisheaters site (also recommended by Fr. Tucker), they indicate that folks can bring some of the candles home to use on altars at home, or maybe they mean that you can bring your own beeswax candles to Mass and have them blessed? They have to be beeswax, a symbol of the Holy Mother's virginity. Regardless, I'm out of luck this year as I have a full schedule and no time to pick up beeswax candles for Mass...and I'm not even sure if our priest is expecting folks to bring them. I'll have to put it on my electronic calendar to ask him about it next January 20 or something like that, so I can be prepared.

Regarding the feast itself. In Mexico, one eats tamales and drinks hot chocolate (cocoa). In Europe, one eats crepes. I guess we shall have pancakes and hot chocolate for supper -- the kids will love that!

And this is the day when most people in most of the world put away their creche. Americans, of course, are notorious for putting it away on December 26, save for the few who hold out to Epiphany. My sister does keep hers up until today. She started observing the Candlemas tradition because she has three December birthdays among her crew, and she doesn't put any Christmas stuff up until December 24, and I do know of several traditionalists who also wait until Christmas Eve.

Someday, maybe I'll try doing it that way. My husband is always very eager to have the Christmas season start the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which is his family's custom. Maybe we could mesh the two customs together. Although personally, I can't imagine having all the Christmas stuff up from (say) November 27 all the way through February 2, but maybe it would be fun.

My "creche" is still up today, but that's because I don't really have an actual creche. Our front door has an oval window, and a few years ago, I used stained glass paints and fake leading to make Nativity scene on a piece of glass. I take down the curtain we have over the window (it's very large, so it needs covering up to give us privacy at night) and put the Nativity window up. I'm rather proud of it -- it's not perfect, but from the sidewalk or street, it produces a lovely effect. But I confess -- the only reason it's still up today is because I haven't yet had a chance to wash the curtain that's usually up there!



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