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Candelaria in Acapulco – Festival 40 Days After Christmas

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 02 February, 2011

(Acapulco, AN 2 February) Today is “Día de Candelaria,” or “Candlemas” in traditional English. In the more traditional Catholic calendar today is called “The Feast of the Purification of the BVM,” as kosher law required such a ceremony for mothers, 40 days after giving birth to a boy (80 days in the case of a girl). Candelaria also represents the end of the season of Christmas and Epiphany, and coincides roughly with the short “Pre-Lenten” season that culminates in Ash Wednesday. In most religious practices, the Gospel text for the day is of the “Presentation of Christ in the Temple,” as described by Luke 2. The image of the “candle” comes from Simeon’s phrase, “to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and a glory to thy people Israel.”

In Mexico, Candelaria is a traditional opportunity to eat tamales and drink atoles, offered by whoever it was that was lucky enough to receive the “muñeco” or small figurine of Jesus in the “rosca” or fruit bread wreath that was consumed on January 6, Three Kings Day. Tamales and atoles are symbols, to remind people of humility. In indigenous communities, today is the official beginning of the agricultural year, and often the people would bring their corncobs to be blessed, as they would be the seed for planting the next crop. In Acapulco tonight, most families will sit down to drink their atoles (or hot chocolate) and eat their tamales.