One more of our Mexican traditions is the expected “Candlemas Day” and I say expected because this day we prepare to eat and enjoy the delicious tamales accompanied by a very traditional drink in our country such as atole. Some of us have to buy the tamales for the family or friends, thanks to the fact that on January 6 “Day of the Magi” while eating the Rosca de Reyes, they get the famous Niño Dios.
But, do you know what all this tradition is due to or what the day of Candlemas really means? Well, if you don’t even know the meaning, don’t worry because this post will help you to know a little more about this custom and tradition that we celebrate. every February 2nd, so you can celebrate too.
But first, let’s see what Canderlaria Day means
According to its meaning, it tells us that it is a festival that Christians celebrate in honor of the “Virgen de la Candelaria” or also known as “La Virgen María de La Candelaria”, a virgin that originates from Tenerife, an island belonging to Spain. who was derived from the candlestick or candle that refers to the holy light that guides the good path, salvation and intensifies faith in God. And this day is also when the Christmas period ends, once 40 days have passed after having celebrated Christmas, the birth of the Christ Child.
Regarding the origin of the Candelaria festival, the “Encounter” arises in the East, which a few years later this tradition spread to the West during the 6th century and then to Rome and so on until reaching every part of the world that adopted this custom. This feast is celebrated every February 2nd according to the Catholic calendar and a passage from the Bible where it mentions that on this date the Child God or the Child Jesus is presented before the Temple of Jerusalem and the purification of Mary, this according to the fulfillment of the predictions of the old testament.
This festival is known and celebrated by different names, to mention some of them with which it is known in different parts of the world are The Presentation of the Lord, The Festival of Las Candelas, or The Festival of Light; where Christ is the light of the world who came to illuminate everyone like a candle or a candle and who was presented by his mother before the temple, this is where the name of Candelaria arises.
Now that we have seen about the meaning and origin, do you know how this tradition came to our country?
This tradition that we celebrate every year thanks to Three Kings Day where most of us gather either as a family, at work, with friends, or at school to eat the traditional Rosca de Reyes.
This celebration has pre-Hispanic and Catholic origins because at that time the inhabitants of several villages brought corn to the church so that they are blessed to plant them later and thus comply with the agricultural cycle, this process or ritual that our ancestors along with February 2, which according to the Aztec calendar was the first day of the year and celebrated it in honor of Tláloc, Chalchiuhtlicue, and Quetzalcóatl, all this coincided with the day on which the Child Jesus was presented before the Temple of Jerusalem.
It is in this way that indigenous and Spanish traditions are mixed and from then on La Candelaria day begins to be celebrated, but in some states of the country such as Mexico City it is celebrated a little differently, for example, Catholic people have the custom that every February 2 they take the Child God to church to listen to mass and dress them in a different color depending on the times it has been taken to church and in other parts of the country it is only customary to eat tamales as a family, at work and even at school.
Now that we know how this tradition came to Mexico, surely many will wonder why we have to eat tamales and have atole instead of another dish, the reason is very simple and it is because tamales were prepared since pre-Hispanic times for the offerings that are made.
They made the gods, they were made and continue to be made from corn. At that time it was an essential food and that is why that tradition continues to this day, but now it is an offering dedicated to the pre-Hispanic gods and the Child Jesus.
Now that you know what “Candlemas Day” means, you already have a good reason to celebrate it and enjoy those delicious tamales and atole in the company of your loved ones.