On February 2, many people in the northern hemisphere celebrate the festival of Candlemas.

In ancient times, Candlemas marked the end of the Christmas season when the tree was taken down and burned in a bonfire to hareld in longer days. In Ireland, the Celtic goddess Brigit was honoured during this traditional Gaelic festival to mark the beginning of spring. In the church, Candlemas took its name from the blessing of the candles for use throughout the coming year.

In response to the natural world, farmers traditionally prepare fields, and urban garden plots are tilled for March planting. We can see how Groundhog Day developed at this time of year as we look to the hibernating animals to come out and see if it is still winter and whether or not we will have an early spring.

At VWS, our grade school students often dip beeswax candles to celebrate Candlemas. For younger children, the celebration is not verbally explained but is experienced so as not to spoil the magic and mystery of the festival.

Vancouver Waldorf School | Candlemas

Celebrating Candlemas

  • Goal Setting – think of things you would like to see happen in the coming year together, in this time of new beginnings, as the earth becomes spring again. Then do something to celebrate that.
  • Candlemaking – rolling candles, candle-dipping, making earth candles outside in the ground and lighting them.
  • Special Meal – bake and eat fresh bread, make vegetable soup or vegetable chowder. Dine by candlelight.
  • Bees – tell simple stories and poems about bees and work with beeswax and honey in some way during this festival.
  • Goddess Brigit/Saint Brigid – tell stories or read a picture book about Saint Brigid and her cloak.
  • Fire – some families have a bonfire on this day.

Whatever you choose to do, send warm wishes as light, once again, takes root in our part of the world.

Abridged from The Parenting Passageway.