By: Ms. Erica
Whether Candlemas be dark or clear, forty days of winter will still be here.
February 2nd is one of the cross-quarter days in the wheel of the year. It falls exactly between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of Spring. In Christian tradition Candlemas is celebrated on February 2nd. In Celtic traditions it is called Imbolc and in Ireland it is celebrated as St. Brigid’s Day.
Candlemas celebrates the presentation of Christ in the temple and the ritual purification of Mother Mary. In the church, it is celebrated by a procession of candles, and candles are blessed in the ceremony and then taken home to be used.
Imbolc is associated with the increasing light of the sun as winter gives way to spring. In Ireland, February 1st is St. Brigid’s Day, who began as a Pagan goddess and became a Christian saint. She was a fire and fertility goddess and on the feast day, her statue was washed in the sea and then carried in a cart through the fields surrounded by candles.
This festival day carries the themes of purification and light. It is considered an auspicious day to ‘clean out the hearth’ in preparation for spring. This festival is about new beginnings, so it is a good time to reflect on what you want to accomplish or change. Light a fire and then reflect on your hopes for the upcoming year. What new seeds do you want to plant? It can also be celebrated by lighting a candle in a window as it gets dark, as a symbol of the increasing light.
Here are some ways that Waldorf families celebrate Candlemas:
One would be to think of goals and things you would like to see happen in this New Year together, in this time of new beginnings, as the earth becomes Spring again and do something to celebrate that.
Of course, the major activity is usually candle-making in some form – rolling candles, candle dipping, making earth candles outside in the ground and lighting them. Some families have their candles blessed on this day.
Some families celebrate by tilling a garden plot for March planting.
You could have dinner in candlelight.