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Monday, May 21, 2012 (read 19525 times)

La Candelaria - Día de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day)

by Kimberly

The Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, known in English as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Candlemas, Feast of the Purification of the Virgin or the Meeting of the Lord, is a popular holiday celebrated by Christians in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria on February 2 each year.

The Candelaria Festival is particularly important in Tenerife (Canary Islands) where the Virgin of Candelaria was said to have appeared in the 15th century and where the Virgin has a center of worship and the Royal Basilica Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Candelaria is dedicated to her.

However, the Candelaria is celebrated in many other places as well, particularly where the Virgin of Candelaria is the patron saint.

The Candlemas celebration is celebrated in many ways throughout Spain with parades and feasts to honor the day that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem 40 days after his birth to purify Mary after childbirth and perform the redemption of her firstborn son according to the Law of Moses. It is for this reason that the Candelaria, or Candlemas feast, takes place 40 days after Christmas.

The Feast of Candles is a reminder of the light of baby Jesus and represents a time of purification. The date is also symbolic, marking the dead of winter with a promise of the soon to arrive spring.

La Candelaria is celebrated in towns and villages of Madrid with a variety of festivities. Clowns dressed as farmers push around fake young bulls made of wood with two horns while the “bullfighters” dressed in colored silk pants with lassos and paper flowers chase perform mock bullfights around the town.  In the evening, in the town center, the makeshift bull is “killed” and the town celebrates by drinking sangria, symbolizing the blood of the bull.

In a town called Pobra de Trives, Ourense, they celebrate the Festa dos Chourizos (Sausage Festival) in honor of the Candlemas. It is said that the bonfires where they roast the homemade sausages symbolize huge candles.

In Almonacid del Marquesado (Cuenca) the Candlemas is celebrated with a parade of hundreds of participants dressed in colorful devil outfits.

Other towns celebrate La Candelaria more traditionally with parades and religious processions. For example, in Malaga a young girl leads a procession as they reenact the arrival of Jesus at the Temple. In Menasalbas (Toledo) riders on horseback and 22 others carry torches through town (again, reflecting the ever repeating them of light).

Keywords: la candelaria, la candelaria festival, fiesta de nuestra señora de la candelaria, candlemas, candlemas festival, candlemas day in spain, candlemas day, dia de la candelaria

Posted In: Spain, Tourism, Culture


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