i have just finished reading lacuna, by barbara kingsolver... probably my favorite author. i loved it and highly recommend it. the novel is set largely in mexico, and several times within the book the characters celebrate candlemas. i had never heard of this, and curiosity sent me searching online. i was surprised to see that this tradition is celebrated in waldorf schools... i don't remember learning about it when my son went? according to various traditions and beliefs candlemas has different origins. for some in marks 40 days past christmas when mary is purified and presents the baby jesus. it marks a time to put away christmas and begin moving forward to a new season. this is true in other cultures as well, as it marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. it is a time to begin spring cleaning, in our homes and beneath the ground, where the earth prepares to sweep away winter and new life begins to form below. according to waldorf mama, where the lovely picture above comes from, "the irish name for this celebration is 'imbolc', derived from the gaelic word for 'ewe's milk'...after the lactating sheep that are nursing their first born lambs of the new season this time of year. a festival that was originally dedicated to the goddess, brigid, keeper of the perpetual sacred flames." candles are often lit, or a fire in the hearth. it is a time to both reflect on the past and to look forward to the future.
i really am in love with this idea, and it carries special meaning for me. candlemas falls on february second, the evening before my birth. as i get ready to embark on a new year tomorrow i am doing many of these same things. tomorrow we step one day closer to spring, and for me one day closer to something much larger, i guess. i am looking forward to what lies ahead for me. i eagerly await spring (and in the meantime, i am enjoying an early birthday gift of springtime in a basket) and whatever else it may bring! i wish you a happy candlemas too!