Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Candlemas is Better than Groundhog Day

Candlemas & Groundhog Day both take place on February 2, which is this Saturday. Candlemas is a feast that celebrates the "Presentation of the Lord," aka when the infant Jesus was taken to the Temple by his parents according to Jewish custom. 
While I will always love the movie Groundhog Day, I find that I prefer to celebrate Candlemas as a holiday instead  (And it's not just because I love Jesus, even though I do.) 
Here are some of the reasons why:

1) Candlemas has a very pretty rhyme to help figure out if winter is over or not. Much better than a silly old shadow.

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
(old English song)

2) The scriptures that tell the story of Jesus being taken to the temple. I like the idea of "revealing light." This is the sort of verbage that I like to ponder for hours.  I also find Simieons words to Mary, facsinating, the future broken heart of a mother being something signifigant enough to mention. Also there is a prophetess involved. These are also things I like to mull over. 

The dedication of Jesus, 
"a God-Revealing Light," at the temple

3) There is a good dose of variety in the celebrations around the world. Food is almost always involved. Usually really good food.
For instance, Tamales are a Mexican tradition during their celebration of  Candlemas called Día de la Candelaria.   This year I am on the hunt for some really delicious and authentic tamales, something that doesn't come out of a can. I have a few leads and will keep you posted. 

4) See reason #3

Crepes are a Candlemas tradition in France. Since the feast will fall on a Sautrday this  year I am planning on making a Crepe Cake for our celebration (usually we would just have crepes with filling for dinner or dessert.) If I manage to pull it off I will try to take pictures.

5) Simple but lovely ways to decorate, or crafts to make or gifts to give:
Candles -specifically beeswax candles.
The burning and blessing of candles at church on this day, an old tradition. If you are hosting a Candlemas gathering you can 

So there you have it. All the reasons I like to celebrate Candlemas. Don't you think it is much better than Groundhog Day? 

(Candlemas is one of the celebrations featured in my book, A Homemade Year; the blessings of cooking, crafting and coming together, which will be released this spring. You can pre-order it now, online, through most booksellers. Visit my The Book page for more info.  )

** Click on images above to find sources


  1. I don't comment often but your blog nearly always speaks to my heart. Thank you Jerusalem for sharing yourself with us from another person who loves living the liturgical year.
    God bless you and your precious family!

  2. What a wonderful tradition. I never knew about it before. Thank you!

  3. I am from Puerto Rico and we celebrate el dia de la candelaria (candlemas). But, now that we live in US we just light up the candles in the house and read the passage in the book of Luke. I also wrote a post in my blog about candlemas!

  4. I love this tradition. I have never observed Candlemas, but I love the significance of it. And quite honestly I have always loved the story of Simeon and Anna and the temple.

    And a holiday that involves tamales? Count me in!


ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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