Candlemas, the word itself begs to be repeated. Conjuring the feelings of Christmas and the warmth of a flame, the tradition begs repetition as well. Not having grown up with the tradition in my home or culture, I stumbled across this remarkable day last year in my research of the tradition of advent, epiphany and the true twelve days of Christmas. Having studied a bit more I have come to find that Candlemas for me bears deep and timely significance.
Right about February 2nd each year I grow weary and restless of the cold and long for Spring. Gratefully love is in the air in February. Fueled by the flames of Valentines I am warmed and persevere yet very welcome is another day of warmth and light. Candlemas I think will do the trick nicely.
Early February is halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, and this is when most begin to look for signs of spring. How soon will it come? How long will winter be? Some rely on the way the candle flame flickers, others rely on a groundhog and his shadow, but it is certainly the point when we all wonder if spring will ever come. To the Celts, this day was known as Imbolc, a sign that the ewe's milk was coming in and that the lambing season would soon commence. The Celts raised praises and lit candles to the goddess Brigid in hopes for a fruitful and helpful lambing season. When Brigid was sainted in the Christian tradition, many in Ireland maintained this as St. Brigid's Feast Day.
As many holidays were incorporated into the Christian tradition, this holiday, six weeks after Christmas, was recognized as the day that the Christ-child was presented at the temple. In some countries this is the day the creche is finally packed up and nestled snuggly away for 11 months. It also is a day where families, having spent January making a year’s supply of candles, offer their stock to a priest for a blessing. Being thus blessed, each candle when lit becomes a literal bit of heaven in the home. The blessing attaches the light of Christ to each candle to remind the family of the source of eternal light.
No matter your beliefs the idea of burning a candle daily as a symbol of something greater than ourselves is both soul enriching and as mindful as it gets. I love the idea of attaching meaning to that flicker of light which is less necessary and all the more meaningful in our day of halogen and LED. Taking the time to light a candle each day might be meditative enough but attaching meaning and substance to the flame itself will feed the soul.
Nearly 8 years ago we lost a little boy. My wife and I are deeply religious and came out of the tragedy basking in heavenly confidence, love, and light. For the week our son was with us we felt a tangible source of warmth, energy, focus, strength, clarity of thought, and courage that sustained us. Ever since I have been on a quest to discover more sources of that sustaining light or love or virtue, and to become a better conduit of it myself.
Candlemas feels like another one of those opportunities. I hope as I introduce this tradition in my home it is done in a way that fosters love, builds our faith, and warms the winter nights. I hope my children will be warmed by the attachment of meaning to our daily, or in reality quite irregular, candle lighting. I hope it does the same for you, your loved ones and your candles.
I love this countdown candle holder. We didn’t get a chance to use ours at Christmas so now we are counting down to Valentines with it. The red glass is perfect for both.
In the spirit of hygge and practicality these candles are all delightfully unscented. Don’t get us wrong a scented candle does wonders as well. A few of our favorites can also be found in our winter collection.