Mexicans Celebrate Candlemas Day – Presentation Of Jesus In Temple

February 2nd, exactly 40 days after Christmas, is the day when Catholics usually celebrate the “Feast of Candelaria”, or Candlemas, in which believers bring figures of the Baby Jesus dressed in finery, and exhibit them at churches.

As recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph took infant Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem for the ritual sanitization of Mary owing to child birth and in order to execute the redemption of the first born, conforming to the Law Of Mosses.

As per the Bible episode, in the holy place, the couple encountered Simeon, who was not to see death before he saw Christ. Simeon thus prayed, “Now you are releasing your servant, Master, according to your word, in peace; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have organized before the face of all peoples; a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel”-( Luke 2:29-32).

Simeon also prophesied to Virgin Mary thus: "Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a symbol which is spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" -(Luke 2:34-35).

In some regions in Mexico, streets are decked with lanterns and people march in candle-lit processions to their churches. Families usually get together to partake of a tamales and atole feast on this day.

The date, Feb. 2, is supposed to have pagan roots, as people bid the winter farewell. It marks the middle point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and is considered the day that marks warm weather to come, making the festival the Latino cousin of Groundhog Day.
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