"This ancient festival marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox. Candlemas is a traditional Christian festival that commemorates the ritual purification of Mary forty days after the birth of her son Jesus. On this day, Christians remember the presentation of Jesus Christ in the Temple.... In pre-Christian times, this day was known as the 'Feast of Lights' and celebrated the increased strength of the life giving sun as winter gave way to spring." ~ From All Year Round
Oh, Candlemas... this beautiful festival I knew nothing about before coming to Waldorf Education. Most of us in the United States grew up celebrating Groundhog's Day on February 2nd. Some of us may know a bit about St. Brigid's Day or Imbolc (especially if you were raised Irish Catholic like me) which falls on February 1st. St. Brigid was one of Ireland's patron saints. Imbolc is said to have been an ancient pagan festival marking the beginning of spring in honor of the Goddess Brighid. Are you seeing any similarities here?
Regardless of your religious background, this sacred time of year can bring us all together as one in hope and anticipation of the light of spring and new beginnings that are around the corner. It is a beautiful thing to celebrate this time with the children in your care. It creates a feeling of reverence, certainty, love, hope, and confidence in your environment. Something humans need more of for sure, especially now.
Steadfast I stand in the world
With certainty I tread the path of life
Love I cherish in the core of my being
Hope I carry into every deed
Confidence I imprint upon my thinking.
These five lead me to my goal
These five give me my existence.
If I am very honest, my week has not been filled with as much light as I am telling you to ignite in your own home or school. This week has been harder than most. With the normal stresses of life and some new endeavors that are taking their toll on me being the main caregiver and working mom.
In addition, one of my daughters has been to the ER, to the doctor and back to get bloodwork all within two days because of an allergic reaction or autoimmune issue she has been having. We are going to the allergist early next week but we are tired, worried and the laundry, house and work are piling up knee deep. I have been eating bad and not exercising as much as I should. As a result, I'm feeling pretty yuck.
I tell you this truthfully so you will know that in blogland things may look pretty and simple, but real life is not. I hope to inspire you to celebrate life and the beautiful seasons with your children so my photos may look clean and pretty but life... well, it's messy, glorious and painful. We ride the ups and the downs and we sometimes sink a bit. But what is beautiful and true is that we keep striving. We look ahead to the light within our grasp and remind ourselves, with confidence, that if nothing else - things always change.
And sometimes that's a really good thing to know.
A friend brought me dinner this evening when she came to pick up her daughter from daycare. That simple act took my breath away. To be honest, it is not often that I am taken care of... and sometimes I really need it. For her to know that means so much to me. These people are the gifts in our lives.
The photos from our February Photo Contest have also kept a bright light shining in my life this week when things were harder than usual. The theme was Flames and Shadows and the winners were chosen this evening. To see the beautiful souls that fill our Facebook Community is so heartwarming. Just take a peek for yourself.
The world is filled with goodness.
Do you celebrate one of these festivals? Let us know how.