Candlemas

A Christian festival and feast most often observed on February 2 or forty days after Christmas. It commemorates the Virgin Mary's visit to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after the birth of Jesus (Luke 2, 22-39). In accordance with Jewish law, Mary was purified and presented her son to God as her firstborn. In the Roman Catholic church the festival is currently called the Presentation of the Lord while the Anglican church calls it the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
30922
Names
Candlemas
Presentation of the Lord
Presentation of Christ in the Temple
Purification of the Virgin Mary
Purification of the Blessed Virgin
Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple
The Coming of the Son of God into the Temple
Maria-Lichtmis Dutch
Hypapantē Greek (transliterated)
Presentación en el Templo Spanish
Hypapante tou Kyriou Greek (transliterated)
Meeting of the Lord and Simeon
Occursus Domini Latin
Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

More Definitions

Refers to a Christian festival and feast most often observed on February 2 or forty days after Christmas. It commemorates the Virgin Mary's visit to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after the birth of Jesus (Luke 2, 22-39). In accordance with Jewish law, Mary was purified and presented her son to God as her firstborn. In the Roman Catholic church the festival is currently called the Presentation of the Lord while the Anglican church calls it the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Hypapante, the name for the festival in the Greek church, means 'meeting' and refers to the meeting of Jesus with Simeon and Anna in the Temple. The earliest reference to the festival comes from Jerusalem in the late 4th century. It quickly spread to other Eastern cities while it spread more slowly in the West. Justinian I decreed that it be observed on February 2 in 542. The festival was instituted in Rome probably before the time of Pope Sergius I (687-701) and the procession seems to have originated there, perhaps even before the feast itself was accepted. In the Western church it was mainly a celebration of the Virgin Mary (until the 1969 calendar reform) while in the Eastern church it was primarily a celebration of Christ. The name Candlemas comes from the tradition, in place by the mid-5th century, of observing the festival with candles. In the West, this procession with lit candles symbolizes Christ as the light of the world and his entry into the Temple.

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Bibliography

  1. 1.  The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus, 300264400. The J. Paul Getty Trust.