Feast of the Purification, being forty days after the birth of our Saviour, and the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus at the Temple and Candlemas, when beeswax candles are blessed are to-day.
Nunc Dimittis ― The Canticle of Simeon is sung to-day, the third of the New Testament's evangelical Canticles. The other two are the Magnificat ― Canticle of Mary, and the Benedictus ― Canticle of Zachary.
nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine secundum verbum tuum in paceOur francophone friends, on La Chandeleur, toss crêpes. In the secularised US, we wait for a woodchuck to be disturbed from his torpor and forecast the weather. If he sees, or even attempts to look for, his shadow, we will still have winter, never-the-less, and if it is only six weeks longer, we are fortunate.
quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum
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: ― Luke ii. 29-32
To-morrow is Saint Blaise day, one of the Catholic fundays. Saint Blaise is one of the 14 Holy Helpers. With crossed beeswax candles, people have their throats blessed. Blaise, in legend at least, saved a boy who was choking on a fishbone. The blessing goes farther, our throats may give voice to unkind and unjust words, so that the throat does not injure the body, but also the soul.