On the 2nd February we celebrate Candlemas,
so I thought it would be a good idea to give an brief outline of what Candlemas means
You might think that Christmas ends when you take the Christmas Decorations down — but it doesn't! After both Christmas and the season of Epiphany, the end of the Christmas celebrations come on February 2nd, 40 days after Christmas, with Candlemas.
Candlemas, also known as the 'Presentation of Jesus at the Temple' or the 'Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (or Mary)' is the when some Christians remember the time when Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem to give thanks to God, the Gospel of Luke says that Jesus was met by Anna and Simeon. Simeon held the baby Jesus and called him the Light of the World.
It's a very important day in some Orthodox and Catholic churches.
The name Candlemas comes from 'Candle Mass' because in many Candlemas services, the candles are blessed to be used in churches during the coming year or are given out to people for them to use in their homes and private prayers.
In many Catholic churches, it's a time when people remember and renew promises they've made to the church and celebrate some of the prophesies which were given about Jesus.
In many Eastern/Orthodox churches, an all night vigil is held on the night before the candle blessing ceremony. In the morning, the candles are blessed and are given out to people
Candlemas occurs at a period between the December Solstice and the March equinox, so many people traditionally marked that time of the year as winter’s “halfway point” while waiting for the spring.
According to some sources, Christians began Candlemas in Jerusalem as early as the fourth century and the lighting of candles began in the fifth century. Other sources say that Candlemas was observed by blessing candles since the 11th century. An early writing dating back to around 380 CE mentioned that a feast of the Presentation occurred in a church in Jerusalem. It was observed on February 14. The feast was observed on February 2 in regions where Christ's birth was celebrated on December 25.
Other traditional names in the western churches include the “Feast for the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary” as well as the “Meeting of the Lord”.
It is also Groundhog Day in the United States and Canada, according to folklore, the badger or groundhog comes out to test the weather (forecast) for the coming year!
Also, (as if) any Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night (Jan 5th) should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down.