Provided by WorldNow
For Roman Catholics and some other Christian denominations, the Christmas season that began on the first Sunday of Advent concludes with Candlemas on Feb. 2.
Candlemas celebrates the day when the infant Jesus was presented to the Temple.
In Jewish tradition, a woman is considered "unclean" for 40 days after the birth of a boy. Only after that time has lapsed is she welcomed back into the Temple with her new son. According to early Christian reckoning, Jesus was born on the Solstice. By that accounting, Feb. 2 was 40 days later.
Some people mark Candlemas by lighting candles, of course, and Catholic churches use it as a day for blessing the candles that will be use during the next year. It's also the day when some people remove their Christmas decorations.
The holiday has been embraced as well by followers of some New Age religions, who trace Candlemas back to ancient pagan celebrations.