Celebrated on February 2nd, the feast of the Purification closes the sanctoral cycle of the time after the Epiphany.
The date corresponds to the forty days after the birth of a male child, according to the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law.
The Mother of God went to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer the prescribed sacrifices, forty days after the birth. She was accompanied by St. Joseph and the Child Jesus.
The Candlemas procession where the candles symbolize Jesus, the Light of the world, recalls the journey of Mary and Joseph going up to the Temple in order to present the Messiah, the promised Savior.
He is the One that the aged Simeon takes into his arms and prophesying says:
“Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Lk 2:29-32).
“The old man carried the Child, but the Child guided the old man. A Virgin bore him, and, after childbirth, continued a Virgin: she adored Him, whom she brought forth.” (First Vespers)