On February 2, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (or the Feast of the Purification of Mary or, popularly, Candlemas because this is the day Catholics traditionally had their candles blessed). If you don’t know much about this feast day and you’re looking for practical ways to observe it in your home, here are some links to get you started:
No (or Little) Fuss Candlemas Ideas by me over on my little family blog, First Heralds. A basic explanation of the feast day with some simple ideas I use in my own home on Candlemas.
Three Things to Remember about Candlemas by Marge Fenelon. Theological insights about Candlemas.
The Churching of Women. Well this is fascinating. Did you know there is a Church tradition, inspired by Mary’s purification, of allowing women to remain home with their infants for 40 days after birth? When you return to Mass, you are making a pilgrimage of thanksgiving for a healthy baby and then you receive a blessing. (This is done for health reasons and not because women are considered impure by the Church.)
Prayers for Candlemas. Use at the dinner table, at bedtime, beside the fireplace, or before a special Candlemas tea party?
Easy Candles: If I could pick three symbols of Candlemas, they would be the dove (for the doves Mary and Joseph would have brought to the Temple), water (purification), and candles (as Jesus entered the temple, Simeon identified him as the Light to the Gentiles). In addition to the candle making ideas I present in my blog post linked above, I like this simple votive candle holder. The holder is baby food jar covered with tissue paper. The linked post is for a 4th of July theme, but use any colored tissue paper. Use Modge Podge to add a little cross or image of Mary and you have a Candlemas craft. Even the smallest hands can manage to make something special.
Marcia’s candle: Marcia Mattern (one of our staff writers at Catholic Attachment Parenting Corner) created a special Candlemas candle by handwriting a portion of Simeon’s announcement (“A light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel”) onto a band of paper, decorating it, then wrapping the band around a pillar candle.
Free Printable Paper Puppets. So cute! Let your kids act out the Presentation as you are reading Luke 2:22-38 to them.
Amazing tea party ideas by Jessica over at Shower of Roses. How does she think of this stuff? Her food is very symbolic of the Feast and beautifully presented. I think I might try her edible candles this year! Using even one or two ideas for your table would be special.