The Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas)
It is 40 days since Christmas and today we celebrate the first time Jesus goes into a Temple. He was taken there by his parents Mary and Joseph as part of Jewish tradition. It is also the day that Mary completed her ritual purification after birth.
When the family entered the Temple, they came across Simeon one of the priests, who immediately recognised Jesus as ‘the Lord’s Christ”. Simeon then said the famed ‘Nunc Dimittis’, now known as Simeon’s Canticle. This prayer prophesised the Redemption of the World by Jesus.
The event is recounted in Luke chapter 2 and has inspired over the centuries stunning works of art and beautiful music. JS Bach wrote a particularly moving cantatas which you can hear performed by the British Guildford Choir on YouTube.
Today there are a variety of célébrations throughout the world for Candlemas. Many countries have a service where candles that will be used in the Church and its congregation for the rest of the year are blessed. In France and Belgium, families have a candlelit dinner of crêpes – the round thin pancakes – which represent the sun and therefore the light of Christ.
Closer to us here in Gran Canaria, this is the day of the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands: the Virgin of Candelaria. So let the célébrations begin!