Liturgical Living: Candlemas (Feb. 2)

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Most of the content for this post about celebrating Candlemas is drawn from our book, Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year.

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Candlemas is coming up this Sunday and I wanted to share some information and resources for celebrating!

About the Feast

Candlemas on February 2nd celebrates the Presentation of Christ: the event described in the Gospel of Luke when the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph present Jesus at the Temple. Faithful Simeon and Anna behold and recognize Jesus as the Messiah, for whom they have been waiting. This feast, which occurs forty days after Christmas (can you believe Christmas was that long ago?), is also in honor of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  

Celebrate with Candles

It is traditional on this day for the priest to bless candles intended for use in observing the Christian Year. Many parishes have a blessing ceremony for candles during Mass on Candlemas and since this feast falls on a Sunday this year, you can  look into bringing your Advent candles and any other religious candles that you intend to use during the Church Year to Mass be blessed by your priest. 

Beeswax

Before the use of paraffin, candles were made from beeswax. It has always been the traditional choice for liturgical candles (which are still at least 51% beeswax if they are used in Mass). But beeswax is used for other reasons: it burns pure without leaving a smoky residue, it has a lovely scent, and it’s symbolic. When our daughter Lucy was baptized and received a candle (representing the light of Christ) our priest explained that the bee is a symbol of Christ himself who tirelessly labors for his Church.

“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because it labors, but because it labors for others

(St. John Chrysostom, 12th Homily)

There are plenty of reasons to avoid the toxic ingredients that many candles contain. Also, stocking up on beeswax candles for liturgical purposes is a great opportunity to seek out beeswax from local apiaries (bee farms) and to support your local bee farmer!

You can also order beeswax online to make your own candles. Each year, we love ordering our Advent candle-making kit from Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles and the kids really enjoy the process of making them!

This year I ordered beeswax from Amazon and I’m going to try to make candles with the kids by following this tutorial at Small Things.

Prayer

(When he finally beholds the Infant Christ, Simeon prays the Nunc Dimittis in Luke 2:29-32):

Lord, you now have set your servant free,

to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,

Whom you have prepared for all the world to see,

a Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.

Does your family have special traditions to observe Candlemas? Please share in the comments!

Stay tuned for more resources for celebrating the Christian Year in February and a big upcoming sale for our ebook on celebrating the liturgical year. For our “Candlemas Sale” the ebook version will be $4.99 (almost 40% off of the usual price of $7.99)! (And what’s the fun of writing a book about the liturgical year if you can’t have sales in honor of slightly obscure feast days, right?!)

CandlemasSale

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

p.s. This is the last day to vote for Carrots and your favorite Catholic blogs at a Knotted Life’s Sheenazing Awards! Head over there to place your vote or I might stoop to guilting you into it by bringing up that whole “I was hit by a truck last on Saturday” thing….Fair warning!

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Comments

  1. Hafsa says

    I am new to your blog, discovered it through the Sheenazing awards nominees, and this post has inspired me to order the beeswax candles to have them blessed. Sadly one of my children received a baptism candle made from beeswax. And I truly love the smell. Thanks for the info. And is your book also available in hard copy format? I don’t have a kindle.

    • Haley says

      Welcome! Yes the book is available in print! You can find it here: https://www.createspace.com/4544738
      But you don’t have to have a kindle to have read the ebook, you can download as a PDF and read it on your computer or a smart phone (if you download the free kindle app). I prefer to read print books, myself, though :)

  2. Jessica says

    Unfortunately my family doesn’t have any special traditions for Candlemas… YET. But I’m working on it! :) I wish our church did the blessing of candles. I checked 5 or 6 churches in the area today and all but 1 are offering the blessings of throats this weekend, but not one candle blessing. :( We asked our old priest to do a special blessings once and he refused and I’ve been too timid to ask again. Do you know if there’s a home prayer to bless the candles yourself?

    • Beth says

      Hi Jessica,

      I saw your comment above, and thought I would share a resource that we have in our home. My parents gave us a book called “Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers” that we have used on several occasions, from Advent prayers to celebrating Baptism anniversaries. They have a section on Candlemas with a blessing for candles. It does not indicate whether it has to be a priest doing the prayers–it simply says “leader.” I would think you could do it at home as a family. In the interest of not typing out the entire prayer here, I found it on this website: http://sanctatrinitasunusdeus.com/2014/01/27/feature-of-the-week-candlemas-and-the-catholic-home/

      I have never been to this website before, so I know nothing about the content of it. However, it’s the same prayer/blessing that is in my book so I thought you may be interested in seeing it.

      Haley,
      Thanks so much for your inspiring blog! Your post are always among my favorites in my blog reader!

      • Haley says

        Thank you so much, Beth! And thanks for sharing the prayers for blessing the candles. I pinned the site so I can find it again!

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