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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Candlemas


CANDLEMAS, noun The feast of the church celebrated on the second day of February, in honor of the purification of the Virgin Mary; so called from the great number of lights used on that occasion. This feast is supposed to have originated in the declaration of Simeon, that our Savior was to be a light to lighten the Gentiles. On this day, the Catholics consecrate all the candles and tapers which are to be used in their churches during the whole year. In Rome, the pope performs the ceremony himself, and distributes wax candles to the cardinals and others, who carry them in procession through the great hall of the popes palace. The ceremony was prohibited in England by an order of council in 1548. But candlemas is one of the four terms for paying and receiving rents and interest; and it gives name to a law term, beginning Jan. 15, and ending Feb. 3.