Candlemas.png (1920×1080) (nativitybartlett.org)
The 2nd of February
As we follow the life of Jesus and how this is celebrated in Christendom, Candlemas is the next stop -Candlemas is a Christian festival held on 2 February to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary (after childbirth, according to Jewish law) and the presentation of Christ in the Temple. Candles were traditionally blessed at this festival. And Candlemas is a Christian holy day celebrated yearly on February 2. It celebrates three occasions according to Christian belief: the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus’ first entry into the temple; and it celebrates the Virgin Mary’s purification (mainly in Catholic churches). According to Leviticus 12:2-4, the days of purification were 40 days after the birth of a son and 80 after a daughter. Therefore, Mary had just 33 days after Jesus’ circumcision before her first visit to the Sanctuary.
12:2 “Tell the Israelites, ‘When a woman produces offspring and bears a male child, she will be unclean seven days, as she is unclean during the days of her menstruation. (Leviticus 15 implies this -after which she is to undergo immersion in a natural water supply – which happens to be the day before her infant is circumcised) 3 On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised. 4 Then she will remain thirty-three days in blood purity. She must not touch anything holy, and she must not enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. ©NET
Hence, Jesus was 40 days old when Mary and Joseph took him to the Temple for his redemption – every firstborn male had to be redeemed because his service belonged to the Lord and had to pay a tax each year if he wanted to remain exempt from Service in the Temple.
We must realize that the family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lived their lives according to Mosaic Law – they were Jews – the Catholic Church offers arguments that these Jewish ceremonies did not apply to them because Jesus is the Son of God and Mary is his ever pure and sinless mother. See https://catholicism.org/the-purification-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-1-ad.html
The fly in the ointment
Imbolc is a Wiccan holiday, that is sometimes referred to as Candlemas or Oimelc. The celebration of Imbolc originates from the Celts. Imbolc symbolizes the halfway point between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara). (the origins and practices of holidays)
Jesus was Presented to the Temple during the Pagan Season of imbolic a celebration of the halfway point between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara). Though this is a celebration irrelevant to Judaism (which predates the Celts) it is one which detractors from the Christian Faith use with the implication that Christianity is merely an adaptation of certain Pagan events.
The word “imbolc” means “in the belly of the Mother,” because the seeds of spring are beginning to stir in the belly of Mother Earth. The term “oimelc” means ewe’s milk. Around this time of year, many herd animals give birth to their first offspring of the year or are heavily pregnant. As a result, they are producing milk. This creation of life’s milk is a part of the symbolic hope for spring. This holiday also celebrates Brigid, the Celtic fire and fertility goddess. Over the years, Brigid was adopted by Christianity as St. Brigid. Brigid (or Bridget) is the patron saint of Irish nuns, newborns, midwives, dairymaids, and cattle. The stories of St. Brigid and the goddess Brigid are very similar. Both are associated with milk, fire, the home, and babies. This is not so alien, after all, imbolc celebrates much of what Easter does, even if 40 days later.
Finally, it is unwise to enter into arguments about this subject because many more will be thrown in our faces, nonrelevant to our Faith except by coincidences that postdate ours.
The Feast of the Presentation is among the most ancient feasts of the Church. Celebration of the feast dates from the fourth century in Jerusalem. There are sermons on the Feast by the bishops Methodius of Patara († 312), Cyril of Jerusalem († 360), Gregory the Theologian († 389), Amphilochius of Iconium († 394), Gregory of Nyssa († 400), and John Chrysostom († 407).
The earliest reference to specific liturgical rites surrounding the feast are by the intrepid Egeria, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land (381–384). She reported that 14 February was a day ceremoniously kept in Jerusalem with a procession to Constantine I’s Basilica of the Resurrection, with a homily preached on Luke 2:22 (which makes the occasion perfectly clear), and a Divine Liturgy. This so-called Itinerarium Peregrinatio (“Pilgrimage Itinerary”) of Egeria does not, however, offer a precise name for the Feast. The date of 14 February indicates that in Jerusalem at that time, Christ’s birth was celebrated on 6 January, Epiphany. Egeria writes for her beloved fellow nuns at home:
“The fortieth day after the Epiphany is undoubtedly celebrated here with the very highest honour, for on that day there is a procession, in which all take part, in the Anastasis, and all things are done in their order with the greatest joy, just as at Easter. All the priests, and after them the bishop, preach, always taking for their subject that part of the Gospel where Joseph and Mary brought the Lord into the Temple on the fortieth day, and Simeon and Anna the prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, saw him, treating of the words which they spoke when they saw the Lord, and of that offering which his parents made. And when everything that is accustomed has been done in order, the sacrament is celebrated, and the dismissal takes place.” Read much more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentation_of_Jesus_at_the_Temple
Our world stretching far beyond the Middle of the Earth has many celebrations in various Faiths, some coinciding with those we Christians have established as methods to instill in our members the cycle of the life of Christ.
When our faith is strong it is quite safe to examine other traditions, and their connections, if any to our own; when our faith is weak it is best to strengthen it before exploring them.