Brad and I recently put together a list of celebrations and seasonal festivals that we’d like to celebrate together as a family. One of the ones I wanted to include was Candlemas, not as a Christian celebration (celebrating the ritual cleansing of Mary after the birth of Jesus), but in a more seasonal style. In the Northern hemisphere Candlemas falls midway between winter solstice and Spring equinox , which is obviously the opposite in Australia. Because of it’s association with Spring, Candlemas is considered a time of new beginnings, a time to think about planting seeds and the promise of the return of light and life. But because we live in Australia, this will be a time of quiet reflection for our family, in which we verbalize a reflective and quiet hope for the coming winter months. Brigid is a Celtic Goddess who through history became a Christian saint. She represented the coming of the light, the sun, fertility and life. Some depict stories of her walking with Mary to the alter for Jesus’ ritual blessing.
Here is how our family interpreted this seasonal celebration:
The night before Candlemas we left some late summer/autumn seeds for Brigid to bless- leek, onion, beetroot and lettuce.
We lit our homemade candles (more on this in another post) and sang the Johnny Appleseed song.
We left out a small bit of bread and honey for her.
The next morning North awoke to discover that his seeds had been blessed and that Brigid had left him a tiny spade and a little pot in which he can grow a few seedlings.
We gave thanks holding hands saying our usual mealtime blessing and enjoyed a pancake breakfast by candlelight. (Notice the true Aussie with his eggs and toast? He just doesn't like pancakes- how very unCanadian!)
We lit candles for each meal of the day giving thanks to the summer sun and in the evening we each verbalized a wish or hope for the coming months and then blew out the final candle. It was a quiet and calm day and a celebration I am glad we have embraced in our own style. I am sure it will morph and grow with us through the years. The most impactful part of this celebration was observing and acknowledging the subtle change in seasons, to give thanks and above all else to enjoy some moments together as a family
For more information about Candlemas, Carrie at the Parenting Passageway, has written a beautiful and informative post about the festival from a Waldorf perspective.