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4 Amazing Ways People Around the World Celebrate Candlemas Day

Today marks the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple— one of the oldest feasts of the Christian Church.

Today, February 2, marks the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Known as one of the many milestones in the life of the Savior, this event commemorates the fourth mystery of the Joyful Mysteries and was mentioned in Luke 2:22-40.

Celebrations for the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple date back to as early as the 4th century. This holy event, populary called as Candlemas, refers to the episode when the Virgin Mary proceeds to the Temple in Jerusalem for purification 40 days after giving birth to Jesus. It also marks the day she presents Jesus to God as her firstborn.  (Read: EXPLAINER: When Was Jesus Really Baptized?)

My Pope Philippines explores the unique ways Catholic countries around the world celebrate Candlemas or the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Read below as we take you on a virtual tour of France, Mexico, Peru, and the Philippines!

Candlemas Day Celebrations: France

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Photo from Sugar Spun Run

In France, La Chandeleur is celebrated on February 2 with lit candles and the eating of crepes. The latter is a tradition initiated by Pope Gelasius I, who supposedly fed pancakes to pilgrims that arrived in Rome.  (Read: 3 French Toast Recipes for Your Next Breakfast Treat)

Candlemas Day Celebrations: Mexico

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Rosca de Reyes Oval Bread (Photo from Joseph A. Tyson / Los Cabos Guide)

In Mexico, tamales is the highlight of the Presentation of Jesus on February 2. A muñeco (a bean-shaped Christ Child) is hidden in a rosca de reyes —whoever finds it is tasked to dress the image of the Christ Child and present it to the priest for blessing. That person then prepares tamales as well as other dishes that are served during a family meal.  

Candlemas Day Celebrations: Peru

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Photo from Machu Travel Peru

Candlemas in Peru (or Virgen de Candelaria) is a joyous occasion of music, dance, and colorful costumes that begins in February and stretches for two weeks. So highly anticipated is this event, it draws people from around the world, and has been compared to the popular Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. (Read: 5 Reasons Why We Love St. Martin de Porres)

Candlemas Day Celebrations: Philippines

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Thousands of devotees from across Western Visayas flock the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral for the feast of Nuestra Señora dela Candelaria (Our Lady of Candles). (Photo from Panay News)

Candlemas is commemorated in various parts of the Philippine archipelago. The faithful in Western Visayas (where the patroness is enshrined at the Jaro Cathedral) mark the day on February 2, while those in Binangonan, Rizal, commemorate the feast on the first Saturday of February.

Candelaria, Quezon, lives up to its name by hosting a Candle Festival from January 31 to February 2. A float parade, street dancing competition, and other lively events are held in honor of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria (Candlemas Virgin). 

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