Candlemas commemorates the ritual purification of Mary, 40 days after the birth of her son Jesus. This day also marks the ritual presentation of the baby Jesus to God in the Temple at Jerusalem.
The Gospel of Luke says that Jesus was met by Anna and Simeon. Simeon held the baby Jesus and called him a Light to the World.
The festival is called Candlemas because this was the day that all the Church’s candles for the year were blessed.
On Candlemas night, many people place lighted candles in their windows at home.
Like some other Christian festivals, Candlemas draws some of its elements from Paganism. In pre-Christian times, it was the festival of light. This ancient festival marked the mid point of winter, half way between the winter solstice (shortest day) and the spring equinox.