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By Donna Wahlstrom

The tradition of Candlemas has been described in various ways by many religions and civilizations. The simplest explanation for it is from pagan beliefs. Candlemas marks the middle of winter with the promise of spring and is celebrated on what we call Groundhog's Day.

The groundhog is a manifestation of God and the festival is about spiritual purification and dedication. Candlemas signifies the return of the sun -- the days lengthen and the fields are prepared for planting.

Some followers of Candlemas tradition celebrate the snow, by a representation of a snowflake, a white flower or snow in a clear glass container, if available. An orange candle is burned to celebrate the power of the sun. And a spicy meal is served.

There are multi-cultural parallels and celebrations: Aztec New Year; Chinese New Year; Valentine's Day; and Armenian Candlemas.

According to Christian doctrines, they view it as the Purification of our Lady, the Virgin Mary, when she brought the Christ child to the temple to be purified and consecrated to the Lord, 40 days after his birth. During the time of the birth of Christ that area of the world was under Mosaic law and it stated that a mother who had given birth to a son was considered unclean for seven days following and for 33 more days after that. She must present herself and her child for purification after that time had passed.

The celebration in those days was a very long, complicated process. It included a blessing of beeswax candles, singing or reciting five or more orations, a procession, and visiting a cemetery. In earliest times it was simply known as the fortieth day after the Epiphany.

Nowadays, those who follow a celebration of Candlemas do so by what we call Spring Cleaning -- then a lighting of the candles, plus a walk in Nature to look for signs of Spring.

Candles and their colors are of importance no matter the time of year. Different colors are used for various reasons. Black, for example, absorbs negativity. Blue signifies harmony and tranquility. Brown is associated with materialistic thoughts. Yellow means wisdom and intellect. White signifies protection, peace and truth. Purple can be used to increase perceptions and healing. Pink, a warm and feeling color, portrays emotional love and friendship; Green almost universally represents prosperity and luck. Orange, a proud and striking tone, means strength and bravery. And red, of course, stands for true love and passion.

Perhaps this is a day we can light candles at our dinner table to remind us the coming of spring and the revelation of Christ, light of the world.
This article is copyrighted. Use of this article in part or whole is strictly prohibited. For reprint, quotation, or excerpt use please contact Merry Network LLC.

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