The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is an early episode in the life of Jesus that is celebrated by the Church on the holiday of Candlemas. It is described in the Gospel of Luke of the New Testament in the Christian Bible. Within the account, "Luke's narration of the Presentation in the Temple combines the purification rite with the Jewish ceremony of the redemption of the firstborn (Luke 2:23-24)."
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the presentation of Jesus at the temple is celebrated as is one of the twelve Great Feasts, and is sometimes called Hypapante (Ὑπαπαντή, lit., "Meeting" in Greek). In Western Christianity, the traditional name for the day is Candlemas, which is also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord. In some liturgical churches, Vespers (or Compline) on the Feast of the Presentation marks the end of the Epiphany season. In the Church of England, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple is a Principal Feast celebrated either on 2 February or on the Sunday between 28 January and 3 February. In the Catholic Church, the Presentation is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.
In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Church, the episode was also reflected in the once-prevalent custom of churching new mothers forty days after the birth of a child.
The Feast of the Presentation is one of the oldest feasts of the Christian church, celebrated since the 4th century AD in Jerusalem. There are sermons on the Feast by the bishops Methodius of Patara (died 312),Cyril of Jerusalem (died 360), Gregory the Theologian (died 389), Amphilochius of Iconium (died 394), Gregory of Nyssa (died 400), and John Chrysostom (died 407). It is also mentioned in the pilgrimage of Egeria(381 - 384), where she confirmed that the celebrations took place in honor of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
Christmas was, in the West, celebrated on December 25 from at least the year AD 354 when it was fixed by Pope Liberius. Forty days after December 25 is February 2. In the Eastern parts of the Roman Empire, Roman consul Justin established the celebration of the Hypapante on February 2, AD 521.
Pope Gelasius I (492–496) contributed to the spread of the celebration, but clearly did not invent it. Moreover, the link made by Cardinal Baronius between the presentation of Jesus and Lupercalia is probably inaccurate since Lupercalia was not celebrated in Jerusalem and it was only there that one finds some celebrations of the presentation of Jesus around this date. But it appears that it became important around the time of the Plague of Justinian in 541, before slowly spreading West.In addition, the Festa candelarum in Rome commemorated the search for the Goddess of Light Persephone kidnapped by the King of the Other World Hades, by her mother the Goddess of Life Demeter. As Persephone was no longer in our world, darkness was everywhere, so her mother used a torch in her search, and in the end obtained that her daughter would be on Earth and Olympus for two thirds of the year (the light period), and in the Other World (Hades) for the other third of the time (winter season). The festival of candles symbolizes the return of the Light.
February takes its name from the Latin verb februare which means "purification". Christianity has therefore placed the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin at this time. The purification in question is the departure of the "winter darkness". The myths of Sleeping Beauty or Theseus and Ariadne (for example) relate to the release or liberation of the light (Dawn of the year) by the "solar knight".
France, Belgium, and Swiss Romandy
Candlemas is celebrated in the churches on February 2. It is also considered as the day of crêpes. Tradition attributes this custom to Pope Gelasius I, who had pancakes distributed to pilgrims arriving in Rome, but as mentioned earlier one can also see it as a vestige of the custom of Vestal Virgins making offerings of cakes at the time of the Lupercalia.
To celebrate Candlemas, all the candles in the house should be lit. Tradition also says manger scenes should not be put away until Candlemas, which is the last feast of the Christmas cycle.
It is also said that the pancakes, with their round shape and golden color reminiscent of the solar disc, refer to the return of Spring after the dark and cold of Winter.
Even today there is a certain symbolism associated with the preparation of the crêpes. A tradition dating back to the late fifth century and linked to a fertility rite is to flip the crepes in the air with the right hand while holding a gold coin (such as a Louis d'or) or some other coin in the left hand, in order to have prosperity throughout the year. One has to ensure that the pancake lands properly back in the pan. It is also said that the first crepe made should be kept in an armoire to ensure a plentiful harvest later in the year. It is sometimes specified that it be placed at the top of the armoire, and the pancake will supposedly not get moldy and will keep misery and deprivation far away.