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Celebrating Candlemas

On February 2nd, we celebrate Candlemas,  also known as St. Brigit’s day or Imbolc-the midway marker between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.
Candlemas is a celebration of light and transformation as we mark the sun’s growing strength. As the days grow longer we start to look forward to Spring and with this growing momentum, engage our own dreams, ideas and ambitions to bring them to fruition.

Candlemas has always been a special celebration in our family.
We celebrate the day as a time to start bringing all the thoughts and ideas that have come forward during the quiet, contemplative time of winter, into a period of germination. Just as the plants are starting to wake up underground; as the sap is starting to flow again through the trees;  the young animals are growing within their mothers, preparing to be born, so are our hopes and visions.

Becoming aware of Candlemas, many years ago, also led us to take a greater pause through the winter; to be sure and slow down and use that time for meditation and clear thinking, so that we are ready to grasp the strength of spring renewal and shoot forward towards our goals.

Each year we plant a Wish Garden, sometimes with close group of friends, some years as a community party, and some years, just as a family.  We usually dip candles in our own beeswax from our hives and prepare a planter filled with earth, through the day.

This evening, before we start our evening meal, we write out our wish for the year. When the boys were younger, they would draw a picture to represent their wishes.

We each dig a little hole in the pot, fold up our wishes and plant them deep within the hole, then cover the wish with a spring bulb or some seeds, and some more earth.

Then we plant our candle on top and light it, representing the returning sun warming the earth so the seeds can came forth and flourish. The wish garden sits in the middle of the table, alight, and we leave the candles burning in the planter, until they burn down completely. Then the planter stays in the kitchen where we can watch and wait and as our little plants start to sprout, coming into full growth 4-6 weeks later- for Spring Equinox.  A warm welcome to spring and it’s renewal.

  This has been a wonderful tradition to share with others….in some years we have made one large wish garden created by our community. One year we made a wish garden outdoors in a special spot on our new porperty- a way to connect to the earth with a sense of beginnings and renewals in that new place.

One of my favourite occasions was one Candlemas that we invited everyone we knew from our different social circles to come and join us. The house was full of children and conversation and laughter. We dipped candles, had a potluck meal,  and each family created their own wish garden to bring home with them.

Just before the end of the evening, all the gardens, alight,  were together in one room- a shared community wish, full of light and warmth. It was a sacred moment.

Here’s to family celebrations, beginnings, and giving our dreams room to flourish!

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Feb 2, 2013 02:07 PM | 10 Comments

10 Responses to “Celebrating Candlemas”

  1. [...] You can read more about this celebration here: http://www.livingcrafts.com [...]

  2. The wish garden is a beautiful ritual for Candlemas! I love it: the soil, the sprouting, the tending. Just marvelous!

  3. cmurph says:

    what a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing it

  4. Heidi says:

    How meaningful. I wonder if I could adapt it for my class room community. Thank you!

  5. lisa says:

    Sounds a bit of earth worshiping to me.
    As any farmer knows , the seeds sleep & awake in spring.. Most homemakers relish the quiet of winter to regroup & make plans for next summers garden .The eb & flo itself does not require our worshiping it .
    it simply is .
    & has been w/o the need of man for centuries.
    But to make a holy day of it is a bit odd to me. Too many in the world today are seaching for a life of meaning & Substance & too easily are led astray by false /empty worshiping of ‘things created” rather then the Great Creater Himself.
    Also is a bit ‘cheeky’ to call it Candle”MAS” when it is obiously stealing a Holy Day wording for millions across the world. Christmas , which in itself means “a Mass for Christ’.

    Time with family & friends , sharing good food & warm fire do not require a man made religion..

    I hope you consider the path you are going down & rethink WHO or What you worship.
    past subscriber.

    • Bookaholic says:

      Candlemas is a very ancient Christian feast across various Christian traditions, and the author of this article definitely did not make up the name or “steal” the “-mas” term, as a simple Google search will demonstrate– it’s centuries old. Obviously the ceremony included herein is more secular and focused on the seasonal aspects of the service, whereas in the Christian tradition the focus was (and remains) on Christ as the light of the world. I think that calling this innocent celebration of the season “man made religion” denigrates the human need for ritual, religious and otherwise. As a practicing Christian, I believe that not every ritual has to be religious to have meaning or sacredness.

  6. Shannon Foby says:

    A lovely idea! Thanks! – Shannon

  7. Cheryl says:

    This is fantastic. I love it!

  8. jacquie weills says:

    I love candlemas…wish I’d had this idea before the second of February…
    I so miss getting your magazine..I loved it.

  9. Laura says:

    What a lovely idea, I hope to keep this filed away in my memory bank for next year.

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