Candlemas Bells

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come (Song of Solomon 2: 12)

Once known as Candlemas Bells, the Snowdrops have again put on a show of courtly brightness during the gloom and cold of February.  Without fanfare or trumpeting, but with heads bowed, gently nodding as if in prayer, they have remained regally steadfast during the worst of winter weather, a beacon of light and hope.  But their beauty is now fading; with gentle augustness they will quietly pass from sight.

Traditionally, Candlemas Bells, symbolic of purity and light, were brought into Churches on Candlemas (2nd February) when the presentation of the baby Jesus to God in the Temple at Jerusalem is commemorated and where we reflect upon Him being called “a light for revelation” (Luke 2:  32). 

It was also the day on which parishioners took their candles to Church to be blessed (hence Candlemas).  On a dank, dark February day, the gloomy medieval Churches lit as they were by numerous candles against the backdrop of masses of fragrant Candle Bells must have been awe-inspiring; indeed, the day was deemed so significant that for many people the weather on Candlemas was used to predict the remaining Winter weather:

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won't come again.

As we say good-bye to these dear friends for another year, we give thanks for the hope they never fail to bring us; unobtrusively majestic, they tell us that all is well.  Spring will very soon be on its way!

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