February 2 was the date you took your candles to the church to be blessed. The blessed candles gave you light if you lost the lights during a storm and protected you from lightning.
When someone died, they used to leave the person on their bed with candles around them at home to be visited by family and friends and those candles kept away any evil spirits.
I remember going to church on February 3, Saint Blaise– San Biagio,to have our throats blessed, where they crossed two candles on your throat and said a prayer.
For Catholics, the candelora is when Jesus was taken to the temple to be blessed, 40 days after his birth.
As usual, it originally was a pagan holiday, Lupercalia, fertility and purification.
Today, like for Ground Hog’s Day, Italian farmers use it to predict the weather.
“Per la santa Candelora se nevica o se plora dell’inverno siamo fora; ma se l’è sole o solicello siamo sempre a mezzo inverno”.
“For Holy Candlemas if it rains or it snows Winter is ending…but if it shines we are still in the middle of Winter.”
In the countryside, often large bonfires are held or processions with candles. More purification!
We certainly can use it this year!
The food to celebrate with are Crepes, savory or sweet.
Which do you prefer?
I love making a batch of crepes and keeping them in the freezer.
It’s so easy warm them up. In Florence, we make a lovely first course, Crespelle alla Fiorentina, spinach and ricotta filled crepes. topped with bechamel sauce and perhaps a little tomato sauce and baked. Much lighter than a lasagna.