Candlemas with meaning and origin: what has the feast day on the 2. February have to do with farming rules and marmots??

In the church year there are some feast days, whose origin and meaning are not familiar to us today immediately. Maria Lichtmess is such a day – but what has the 2. February has to do with Christmas, marmots and farming rules?

On Candlemas on February 2, Christmas decorations were traditionally removed - the Christmas season was officially over after 40 days. (Photo)


They stand as Corpus Christi, Ascension, Epiphany or Feast of the Sacred Heart in the Calendar – Christian holidays that may not mean something to everyone right away. Similarly, Mary Candlemas, the holiday that is celebrated every year on the 2. February falls. But where does the festival come from, what traditions are linked to Candlemas – and what does the day have to do with marmots and the weather forecast??

Candlemas on 2. February has its roots in the New Testament

The commemoration day Maria Lichtmess, sometimes also called Maria Lichtmess, has its origin in the Christian faith and the church year. The 2. February, on which Maria Lichtmess traditionally falls, was in ancient times the end of the Christmas season. Catholic Christians have always celebrated on 2. February – that is 40 days after Christmas – a feast that is still known today as the "Presentation of the Lord is known. If you open the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament, you will find the appropriate biblical passage for this feast: When Mary and Joseph came to the temple with their newborn son Jesus to give their firstborn to God in a symbolic act, according to Jewish tradition, those present there realized that the little boy was no ordinary baby, but the Son of God. In addition, the temple visit also had a special meaning for Jesus’ mother Mary: For her, 40 days after the birth, the period in which she was considered unclean ended with a ritual offering in the temple. The name "Candlemas refers to the religious purification of the young mother, which is why Candlemas is also known as "Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary" or in Latin as "Purificatio Beatae Mariae Virginis" is known.

Candlemas on 2. February: These traditions are linked to Candlemas

As official conclusion of the Christmas season one used in past centuries on Maria light measuring to clear away nativity scenes set up for the Christmas celebration or the Christmas tree. In the meantime, it has become customary to postpone this tradition to the 6th day of the year. January to bring forward, if the Epiphanias day stands in the calendar. In religious services to this day on 2. On February 2, the candles for the new church year were blessed.

Not only in religious terms, but also in a variety of secular matters, Candlemas has been a significant day in the calendar throughout the centuries. For the farmers began on 02.02. For farmhands and servants, however, it was the long-awaited payday on which the wages for the previous twelve months could be paid and a new job could be taken up or the existing employment relationship extended for another year.

Candlemas on 2. February: These traditions and customs characterize the ecclesiastical festival

Similar to other feast days, Candlemas also has a culinary side: In some parts of the country, to this day, people use to eat special pastries on 2. February to consume special pastries. In southern Germany, for example, a yeast pastry known as Schlenklweihnudeln is known, which is filled with plum jam and sprinkled with sugar reminiscent of Berliner or Krapfen. Wherever Shrovetide is celebrated in the Swabian-Alemannic region, it is traditionally celebrated from the 2nd of December onwards. February.

Maria Lichtmess is also still highly topical in other respects: The 2. February is traditionally an important day for making longer-term weather forecasts. In past centuries, when people were neither meteorologists nor Weather-apps were available, people had to rely on observations of nature to predict the weather. The wisdom derived from said observations has always been in Farmer’s rules packed common – this is especially true for the 2. February at Candlemas.

Candlemas on 02.02.: These are the most famous farmer’s rules for weather forecast

A number of farming rules and mnemonic sayings can still be found today for Candlemas on 2. February:

  • If the sun is shining at Candlemas, there will be a lot of snow and frost in February.
  • If it’s storming and snowing on Candlemas, spring is not far away; but if it’s clear and bright, spring probably won’t come so quickly.
  • If there is sunshine on Candlemas, it will be a late spring.
  • Candlemas in clover, Easter in snow.
  • If the sun shines clearly on Candlemas, there will be a late frost and a terrible year.
  • The farmer loves a dull Candlemas; if it’s light at Candlemas, the winter won’t go.

Already knew? Groundhog Day and Candlemas both fall on the 2. February

By the way: In other parts of the world, the 2. February and the weather forecast for the following weeks have less to do with the Bible than with a cute little animal. In the USA, more precisely in the state of Pennsylvania, Groundhog Day is celebrated in a particularly exuberant way. Animal weather forecasts are based on similar assumptions as farmer’s rules: Fair weather on Groundhog Day augurs another month and a half of winter, rather gloomy weather on 2. February points to an early start of spring.

Other places in North America also have a KFA of 1.5 due to the popularity of Groundhog Phil – that’s the name of the Punxsutawney rodent that’s the focus of the 2. February everything turns – created their own traditions for Groundhog Day.

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