The Feast day of the Presentation of the Lord is celebrated on Feb. 2. It has been celebrated since the fourth century.
According to Jewish law parents were required to offer a sacrifice for their first male child forty days after his birth. Usually the sacrifice was a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. On the same day the mother would be ritually purified. The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph were observing this requirement. Simeon was a devout and just man. When Jesus was presented in the temple, he embraced the child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon. (Luke 2:22).
After it was decided to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25, the Feast of the Presentation was celebrated on Feb. 2, which was 40 days later. It is also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and Candlemas.
Candlemas refers to the custom which arose of blessing candles on this feast day. The Canticle of Simeon is sung during a procession after the blessing occurs. This custom still occurs in some European countries.
The Canticle of Simeon
Now, Master, You can dismiss your servant in peace;
You have fulfilled Your word.
For my eyes have witnessed Your saving deed
displayed for all the peoples to see:
A revealing light to the Gentiles,
the glory of Your people Israel.
February is the Month of the Passion of the Lord