Candlemas — what it is
In the Orthodox and Catholic Christian culture there are many festivals that are of great importance for believers. One of them is the Presentation of the Lord. On this day, remember many people know the biblical event. So the question is: "Candlemas — celebration for what?" — definitely deserves attention.
In the Russian Orthodox culture for many years, celebrated on February 15 Candlemas. This holiday is rooted in the traditions of Western and Eastern countries (IV-V). It was then that Candlemas was one of the twelve key dates that were included in the Orthodox calendar. On this special day, all who have faith in Christ, respectfully I recall those events at the time described by the Evangelist Luke. We are talking about a special meeting of baby Jesus and the righteous Simeon.
What does Candlemas
In fact, the word "meet" can be translated as "meeting". As for the story, which was the cause of celebration, it began almost 2,000 years ago when Mary came to the Temple in Jerusalem with the baby Jesus. The future Savior of the world at that time was only forty days old. According to the law of Moses, the woman who gave birth to a male child was to come to Church and to bring purification and offerings. This is what Mary did. Although the fact that she conceived a child by the Holy spirit, saved her from having to offer a sacrifice of purification.
It so happened that in Jerusalem at that time lived Simeon received from God the revelation: he will not leave this mortal earth until, until you see the Savior of the world. Inspired by the Heavenly Father, Simeon came into the Temple just when Mary was there with Jesus. After seeing the little Christ, the righteous elder took Him in his arms, and declared that his eyes have seen the salvation of God.
Therefore, answering the question: "Candlemas — what is it?" — it is necessary to speak about the meeting of the divine child and the righteous Simeon in the temple of Jerusalem. Another meaning of the word "meet" is "joy", the cause of which is the salvation wrought by Christ to our world.
The importance of the meeting
Those who are not versed in Christianity, it may seem a little strange the fact that the meeting of Simeon and the baby Jesus is given so much importance. In fact, so much attention given believers the feast of the presentation of the Lord, more than logical.
The point is that almost all old Testament prophets were waiting for the coming of the Messiah — God's Anointed one who would deliver his people. And therefore, the meeting of Simeon with the born Christ there is nothing like the fulfillment of the prophecy in which is believed by many men and women of God who lived during the Old Testament.
Learn more about Simeon the God-receiver
Trying to understand the question of the presentation of the Lord — what a celebration and what is its value, should pay more attention to one of the key figures of biblical history associated with this date (February 15). If we turn to the tradition, it will be possible to learn that Mary met in the Temple Simeon were aged 360 years. His name means nothing like "hearing". Moreover, it is considered to be one of the 72 scribes who have received from the Egyptian king Ptolemy II the command to translate the Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek.
It was while working on the translation of Simeon and read the prophecy which said that a virgin would bear a son — the Savior of the world. The Israeli prophet wanted to change the word "virgin" (virgin) "wife" (woman), but an angel appeared to him, did not allow to do so. Heeding the heavenly messenger, Simeon received his promise that he personally will be able to see the prophecy fulfilled.
The day of the presentation of the Lord was the prophet promised by the incarnation of the angel.
Anna the prophetess
In the Bible there is one character who is related to the well-known occasion. We are talking about Anna the prophetess. Understanding that means the celebration of the Candlemas, it is also important to pay attention to. On the day when the baby Jesus was brought to the Temple, to his mother — the virgin Mary — came a widow, which at that time was already 84 years old.
She often voiced to the citizens of wise speech about God, and for what it became known as Anna the prophetess. This woman came to the little Christ, worshipped him and came out of the temple, began to tell residents about what the Messiah had come, who would deliver Israel.
Historical evidence of the veneration of the feast of the presentation of the Lord
If you examine the manuscripts left over from past generations, you'll find an interesting fact. Its essence boils down to the fact that in the fourth century the Western pilgrim Asteria was written the work "Pilgrimage to the Holy places". This is actually the most ancient historically reliable evidence that Candlemas had Church and liturgical celebration in the Christian East. The manuscript Asteria does not own liturgical celebration of the title, defining it as the fortieth day of Epiphany. But the process of the celebration held in honor of the presentation, described in more than emotionally.
But the second monument, which gives the holiday a special liturgical nature, rooted in Jerusalem. We are talking about the Armenian Lectionary. It was testified by the fact that the liturgical-statutory practice the beginning of the V century. Based on this information, you can make the obvious conclusion: in IV-V centuries, Candlemas was determined in the Jerusalem Church as the feast, is worshipped in this area.
If we consider the question: "Candlemas — what is it?" — exclusively in the popular format, you will notice an interesting fact: this festival is a symbol of the meeting of winter and spring. In connection with this had come a lot to take.
The first thing can be attributed to the signs, to the attention of 15 February, is the weather. According to legends, if the day is warm and Sunny, then expect an early spring. In such a holiday as Candlemas, superstitions relating to the weather, may indicate persistent frost, if on the night of February 15 the sky is clear, which is not visible stars. But in the case of starry sky, there is every reason to expect a quick spring.
As for health, there is need to pay attention to the candle that was lighted during the festival: if the fire is smooth and almost not moving, problems with the physical condition are not expected, but when the flames turn blue and sways, it makes sense to prepare to fight with the disease.
In such a holiday as Candlemas, the signs of concern and roads. It is believed that if this day went, he will return home soon. The rationale for such statement is the fact that on 15 February, the weather is unpredictable, it can be everything from heavy rains to heavy snowfall. Such precipitation is, of course, considerably complicate the movement.
It is considered that if this holiday from the heart to feed livestock, it will grow rapidly and produce good offspring. Also celebrating 15 February presentation of the Lord allows us to predict the abundance of the harvest: the morning snowfall this is a sign of a rich harvest of early crops, and the daily snow predicts successful planting medium.
This day is used to prepare seeds for sowing and drove the livestock from the barn to the corral and inspected the harness. Also among the people was a common tradition to use the water from the snow that fell the day of the presentation because it was believed that it can cure various diseases.
Water drained from the roof during the festival, were also of great importance. It was used for baking cakes, which, after gave to those who suffered any illness.
Features of the celebration
For the full answer to the question: "Candlemas — what is it?" — it is necessary to study and feature of this holiday. Interesting is the fact that a large part of the services in the Church centered on the person of the virgin. From ancient religious traditions to date came a few Orthodox rites, have not lost their relevance.
First of all, is the blessing of water and candles in Church. Related to this is another belief: if during a thunderstorm consecrated to put a candle before the icon, it will protect the house from lightning. Understanding that means the Presentation of the Lord, it is impossible to ignore and colourful celebration, during which sound very beautiful liturgical texts. They reveal the essence of the speech of the prophet Simeon, as well as is honored in honoring him to see the baby Jesus. As for the duration of the celebration, the Candlemas lasts 8 days: 14 (predprazdnichnoy) to 22 February (the leavetaking of the feast).
In analyzing the issue: "the presentation of the Lord — what is it?" — in the format of the Catholic tradition, it should be noted, a thorough approach to the holidays. On this day in temples the priests clothed in garments white and, before the solemn mass, spend colourful procession with candles and make the blessing. Everyone who came to the temple, singing songs, in which are the words of Simeon spoken to the infant Jesus, and the priests conducting the ritual, is sprinkled with Holy water, singing.
For many believers, this holiday is significant enough to prepare the greeting. Candlemas is actually honoring the coming of the Savior, so many of the poems and skits in this day talks about new life, joy and the spring that animates all around.
The Iconography Of The Presentation
Significant Christian holiday — the day of the meeting of Simeon and the baby Jesus — has inspired artists to create many of the icons and frescoes. They all describe the moment when Mary passes into the hands of his elder son.
Icon "Candlemas" depicts Joseph, behind the virgin and carries either a cage or two, and sometimes three pigeons. Anna the prophetess also depicted on the icon behind the Simeon.
Interesting fact that the icon "Candlemas" or has as the background the foot of the Shrine or depicts a meeting of the elder and the infant Jesus near the throne. And images, written at a later time, sometimes portrayed the torments of hell and the eventual salvation (located in the lower part).
The value of the icon "Softener of evil hearts"
There is another icon that has a direct bearing on the feast of the presentation of the Lord. It's called "Simeon proracuna" or "Softener of evil hearts". This icon depicts the moment when Israeli husband prophesies to the virgin that Her weapon will pass soul. The virgin Mary stands on a cloud with the seven swords that pierced her heart: three left, three right and one on the bottom. Number of swords attributed to the fact that the number 7 characterize completeness, in this case suffering, heartache and sorrow.
In General, if we consider that the meaning of the feast of Candlemas, it is possible to make a conclusion about the considerable influence on the Orthodox and Catholic Christian culture. This day also bears a tangible spiritual significance, as it symbolizes the meeting of two covenants: the Old, the prototype of which is Simeon, and the New born Savior.