Candlemas

noun

Can·​dle·​mas ˈkan-dᵊl-məs How to pronounce Candlemas (audio)
: February 2 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the presentation of Christ in the temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary

Examples of Candlemas in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Groundhog Day is an American tradition dating to 1887 and has origins in the European celebration of Candlemas, the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 19 Mar. 2024 The first Groundhog's Day was celebrated on Feb. 2, 1887, at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney and has roots in the Christian tradition of Candlemas where a clergy would bless and distribute candles for winter. Laura Daniella Sepulveda, The Arizona Republic, 2 Feb. 2024 Groundhog Day is rooted in the Christian holiday Candlemas, the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. The Enquirer, 2 Feb. 2024 Early Christians believed that clear skies on Candlemas Day, which falls on Feb. 2, meant a longer winter was ahead, according to the National Weather Service. Aliza Chasan, CBS News, 2 Feb. 2024 The longstanding ritual began when Roman legions brought that tradition to the Germanic tribes who concluded that if the sun appeared on Candlemas Day and a hedgehog cast a shadow, there would be six more weeks of bad weather to come. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 3 Feb. 2024 While the quirky day got its start in the late 19th century, historians believe Groundhog Day stems from Candlemas, a Christian holiday that dates back to the fourth century. Ashlyn Messier, Fox News, 2 Feb. 2024 Our tree now goes up Christmas Eve and down the day after Candlemas (Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple). WSJ, 4 Jan. 2024 The plastic baby Jesus figurine hidden in the ring carries the promise of future celebrations: The person who finds the baby in their piece gets good luck, but also has to throw a tamale feast on Feb. 2, called Día de la Candelaria, or Candlemas. Christina Morales, New York Times, 28 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Candlemas.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English candelmasse, from Old English candelmæsse, from candel + mæsse mass, feast; from the candles blessed and carried in celebration of the feast

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Candlemas was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near Candlemas

Cite this Entry

“Candlemas.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Candlemas. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

Candlemas

noun
Can·​dle·​mas ˈkan-dᵊl-məs How to pronounce Candlemas (audio)
: February 2 observed as a Christian festival in honor of the presentation of Christ in the temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary

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