Yes, today is Candlemas, or the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin. It commemorates the purification (or churching, as medieval people would have seen it) of the Virgin Mary forty days after the birth of Jesus Christ, when it was traditional for the mother to make an offering or sacrifice according to Jewish law, and the presentation of the baby Jesus at the temple in Bethlehem. It is the end of the liturgical season of Christmas tide and Candlemas Eve was also time to take down any Christmas decorations that you hadn't taken down on Twelfth Night. 17th century poet Robert Herrick wrote in his poem "Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve":
"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe ;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall :
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind :
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
So many goblins you shall see."
So please make sure you've taken down any of those lurking decorations!
Picture: Presentation of Christ at the Temple by Hans Holbein the Elder, Wikimedia Commons.
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