The Feast of the Purification:
A Jewish woman is in semi-seclusion for 40 days after giving birth to a son. It was Jewish custom to offer the first-born son to God. This event, which has the full name, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the date on which Joseph and Mary brought the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is also the fourth joyful mystery of the Rosary, called the Presentation, when Simeon prophesied to Mary “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce), so that the thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” ( Luke 2: 22–38).
Candlemas (also spelled Candlemass)
Candlemas, celebrated on February 2, is a festival that dates from the middle ages, signifying the end of the Christmas season. It was celebrated in Medieval England with feasts and the blessing of candles which were then used in churches during the upcoming year. Candles were to made of pure beeswax and lighted with wooden matches.
Today many people still search for pure beeswax candles, and wood matches and have them blessed on the feast of Candlemas. Candlemas continues to be a day of purification, renewal, and hope. Some call the day Candlemas (Candle Mass), which comes from the activities associated with the feast.
Celebration of Candlemas:
Often local churches hand out candles, or people bring their own, to be blessed. After an antiphon, during which the candles held by the people are lighted, there is a procession into the church. During the procession to the church, the Nunc Dimittis is sung, replicating the words that Simeon proclaimed. In Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, the procession into the church for Mass commemorates Christ’s entrance into the temple.