Ah, Candlemas! The Feast of the Purification of the Virgin and the day on which the faithful eagerly await the blessing and distribution of candles. Though the “girlies” and I will be home, our men will join the great feast and return home to a lovely brunch to celebrate the day. Traditional fare on Candlemas? Crepes Suzette. We may have to forgo this little tradition, in favor of pancakes due to “tender tummies.”
Here is an interesting Scottish prediction regarding the weather:
If Candlemass day be dry and fair,
The half o’ winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemass day be wet and foul,
The half o’ winter’s gave at Yule.’
And one on the blessing of candles:
This done, each man his candle lights,
Where chiefest seemeth he,
Whose taper greatest may be seen;
And fortunate to be,
Whose candle burneth clear and bright:
A wondrous force and might
Both in these candles lie, which if
At any time they light,
They sure believe that neither storm
Nor tempest cloth abide,
Nor thunder in the skies be heard,
Nor any devil’s spide,
Nor fearful sprites that walk by night,
Nor hurts of frost or hail.
The Dream of the Candle
A Tale from the Golden Legend
By Jacobus de Voragine, A.D. 1275
We read an example of a noble lady which had great devotion in the blessed Virgin Mary, and she had a chapel in which she did do say mass of our Lady daily by her chaplain. It happed that the day of the purification of our Lady, her chaplain was out, so that this lady might that day have no mass, and she durst not go to another church because she had given her mantle unto a poor man for the love of our Lady. She was much sorrowful because she might hear no mass and for to make her devotions she went into the chapel, and tofore the altar she kneeled down for to make her prayers to our Lady.
And anon she fell asleep, in which she had a vision, and her seemed that she was in a church, and saw come into the church a great company of virgins, tofore whom she saw come a right noble virgin crowned right preciously. And when they were all set each in order, came a company of young men which sat down each after other in order like the other; after, entered one that bare a burden of candles, and departed them to them above first, and so to each of them by order he gave one, and at the last came this man to this lady aforesaid and gave to her also a candle of wax.
The which lady saw also come a priest, a deacon and a subdeacon, all revested, going to the altar as for to say mass. And her seemed that S. Laurence and S. Vincent were deacon and sub-deacon, and Jesu Christ the priest, and two angels bearing tofore them candles, and two young angels began the introit of the mass, and all the company of the virgins sang the mass.
And when the mass was sung unto the offering, her seemed that thilk virgin so crowned went tofore, and after, all the others followed, and offered to the priest, kneeling much devoutly, their candles.
And when the priest tarried for this lady that she should also have come to the offering, the glorious queen of virgins sent to her to say that she was not courteous to make the priest so long to tarry for her.
And the lady answered that the priest should proceed in his mass forth, for she would keep her candle and not offer it. And the glorious virgin sent yet once to her, and she said she would not offer her candle.
The third time the queen said to the messenger: Go and pray her that she come and offer her candle, or else take it from her by force. The messenger came to this lady, and because in no wise she would not come and offer up her candle, he set hand on the candle that this lady held and drew fast, and she held fast, and so long he drew and haled that the candle brake in two pieces, and that one half abode still in the hand of the lady aforesaid, which anon awoke and came to herself; and found the piece of the candle in her hand, whereof she much marvelled, and thanked our Lord and the glorious Virgin Mary devoutly which had suffered her that day not to be without mass.
And all the days of her life after she kept that piece of that candle much preciously, like an holy relic, and all they that were touched therewith were guerished and healed of their maladies and sicknesses.
Let us pray then humbly to the glorious Virgin Mary, which is comfort to them that forsake their sins, that she will make our peace to the blessed Son and impetre and get of him remission of all our sins, and after this life to come to the glory and joy of heaven, to the which bring us the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.