Here I report what appears to be a pretty cool festival of faith. I like it because the festival includes Brigid, Brigit, or Saint Bride, as she was called. Candlemas can be held for two days. February 1st honors Brigid, and is also Imbolc, as I discussed in the last post. February 1st is also seen as the first day of spring, because the light stays with us longer in the day. Lambing and spring sowing in the agricultural realm reminds us of a new season, even though we feel it is still winter with the snow and winds around us.
Brigid is known as a Celtic Triple Goddess, but then she became revered, as a Saint, in the Christian tradition as well. There are stories that Brigit was the innkeepers daughter, and she helped Mary escape with Jesus, by distracting the guards who searched on King Herod’s orders. Brigit is also associated with wearing a Cloak of Miracles. She requested a parcel of land from King Leinster, and he said to lay down her cloak wherever she wanted land. As she did, it covered a large parcel of land.
February 2nd is Candlemas. This is traditionally the day the church celebrates the ritual cleansing of Mary, after the birth of Jesus and also the day Mary presented baby Jesus in the Jewish Temple. Simeon called Jesus a Light, tying him to Candlemas day. There are stories that Mary was uncomfortable with the attention of carrying Jesus through the temple, so Brigid wore a crown of candles to distract attention, even away from the soldiers of the King. So, Candlemas is seen as a festival of lights, as well as a day to celebrate Saint Brigid in her assistance with Mary and Jesus.
Candlemas is the day the Church officially blesses the candles being used for the year. Families are usually allowed to bring candles from home to have them blessed as well.
Candlemas is also Groundhound Day. A day filled with weather lore.
Does this Candlemas saying remind you of anything?
“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will take another flight.
If Candlemas Day be cloud and rain
Winter is gone and will not come again.”
A couple of activities to do on these days are making candles with your family for the upcoming year. Also redecorating your nature table to reflect spring. I have also heard of making earth candles. You dig just a tiny hole out of the earth and place a small wick, while pouring a tad of beeswax. You could do that all along your walk up to your door. And, have a candlelit dinner as well. Anything with Light celebrating the return to more light in our day, as well as acknowledging Jesus, as a son of Light.
Finding rhythm with the year has been a goal of mine for several years. And, as I go around the wheel of the year, season by season, I meditate on truths. Truth is to me what I believe. I believe truth can be different for each person, but still considered truth. I remember growing up on a big farm, watching and learning from my grandparents. They were agricultural, so many things applied relating to nature and spirituality. I naturally tie the two together. Nothing can be separated. We are interconnected. The animals, the trees, the season of winter, the sun, the moon, Jesus, Brigit, the Oneness, or God, Spring, planting our crops or intentions. My point is for us all to take the time out of our busy schedules to notice where we are in the year. Celebrate with your family. Start traditions. Start a nature table for yourself or your children. How? Use fabric the color of the season. Use natural items you find outside, or mix the table with items reflecting the time of year. Our nature table has a white silk fabric laid out over some wood, making a rabbit den. My boys have gathered all their bunnies and put them together in the den and outside of the den, with acorns and stored items. There is also a candle holder with star cut outs, so that stars shine on our wall. What is also symbolic about the rabbits is their relation to the Year of the Rabbit. So, we are holding several types of symbolism together. We are meditating on what the Year of the Rabbit will bring. Fortune, and a humble walk, all the while serving Creator.
I believe we will also add seeds to our nature table, as well as starting some herb flats, with our intentions carefully sewn in the soil. This will be, for us, a wonderful activity, along with the making of our candles.
Here is another story about Brigid and a girl named Luz.
Also, for more ways to celebrate Brigid, look here, as well as some foods to include.
Here is another blog addressing Candlemas and Imbolc.