What is Candlemas?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Candlemas (or candles mass) is known as the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus and the Purification of Mary which is described in the Gospel of Luke (2:22-24) in the New Testament. At this occasion, Joseph and Mary were observing the command in Leviticus 12 that stated that on the eighth day, the new born boy was to be circumcised. And on the fortieth day, the mother would be considered clean, and the boy would be presented to the priest. The mother would also bring a burnt offering of a year-old lamb and a pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering. And if she could not afford a lamb, she can bring two pigeons or turtledoves.

Candlemas is a holiday observed mainly by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox churches. It falls on February 2, which is traditionally the 40th day of the Christmas-Epiphany season. While it is customary for Christians in some countries to remove their Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), those in other Christian countries historically remove them on Candlemas.

The Feast of the Presentation is one of the oldest feasts of the Christian church, celebrated since the 4th century (312 AD). Traditionally, the Western term “Candlemas” referred to the practice whereby a priest on 2 February blessed beeswax candles with “holy water” and incense for use throughout the year and candles were distributed to the faithful for use at home.

While there is nothing wrong in remembering the day when Jesus and Mary went to the temple, Candlemas has some unbiblical beliefs and superstitions connected with it:

  1. Beliefs – The honoring of the Virgin Mary as being the Mother of God which is contrary to the Bible. For more, check: Is Mary the Mother of God? and What is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary?
  2. Superstitions – There are many superstitions such as people believing that they should remove the Christmas decorations of greenery for traces of berries will bring death among them before another year is out. Others hold that anyone who hears funeral bells tolling on Candlemas will soon hear of the death of a close friend or relative. And others believe that placing candles in windows will ward off storms and so on.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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