Simple Preparations for Candlemas
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain
, Winter will not come again.
Candlemas, Imbolc, or Brigid’s Day is celebrated February 2nd (the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox). It is a traditional Spring festival that marks the end of Winter and the return of the Light, who in ancient times was personified by the Celtic Goddess, Brigit. The Pagan version of this same festival is called Imbolc and was traditionally a time to bless and prepare for the spring sowing and planting.From a Christian perspective Candlemas commemorates the day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple, forty days after his birth. Jesus is lovingly referred to as the “Light of the World” or the “Bringer or Light”. Hence, the association with lighting candles and spreading the light.
Rhymes and verses such as the one above also added an element of weather prediction to the festival and in keeping with this weather lore, many Canadians and Americans know the 2nd of February as “Groundhog Day”. If it is overcast and grey when a groundhog emerges then Spring will come early. If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its hole and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
Creating a Candlemas Tradition in your Family
If you are interested in creating a space in your home for Candlemas festivities, below are some of the ways you can come together to celebrate. Some themes associated with this festival include the coming of the light and sunshine, Spring cleaning, cleansing, fresh starts and new beginnings. Don’t feel as though you need to take all of these rituals on, instead choose only one or two to mark the festival and each year add to it if you feel so inspired.
- make pancakes or crepes for breakfast- symbolising the return of the golden, round sun
- clean the fireplace of ashes
- wash the sheets and linens and spray with essential oils
- simplify your environment- go room to room and declutter and separate things into three piles: storage, give away and trash
- throw left-over Christmas greenery and Yuletide decorations away or burn them in a fire
- children can shine wooden toys with beeswax or olive oil and a little cotton cloth
- children can shine metalware with lemon juice or baking soda
- children can help sweep and mop with small brooms and mops
- family members can each roll or decorate a beeswax candle to light that evening
- the family can have a candlelit dinner or a candlelit story in the evening
- each family member could write (or draw) a wish or hope for the coming Spring and then throw the paper into the flames of a fire to seal the wish
- children can plant bulbs or seeds inside and watch them grow
- children can have a cleansing bath, wash hair, cut nails and be given a warming massage with oil
Finally, I believe this is also a beautiful time for Mamas or carers to spark up their “inner life” and “inner work” and to check in with where you are at- are you getting a little bit of time each day to do what fills you up (this could be exercise, meditation, journalling or artistic work)? If you’re looking for some direction, may I recommend the beautiful and meditation from Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Calendar of the Soul’ and is called the Pure Rays of Light Meditation.
Sending warmth, love and above all LIGHT to you and yours this Candlemas.