Seeing A New Virgin in Town
How often can you say that?
I could during the recent Candlearia celebrations on February second. I’ve written and spoke often how February second is a big day marking the beginning of spring here in town, the first time Mary goes to temple following Jesus’ birth forty days earlier, the party hosted by those who found Jesus in their Three Kings’ Day bread on January 6th and a celebration of the sacred hearts of Mary and Jesus.
Baby Jesus dolls come to church to be blessed that morning and it is a big day for San Miguel long past nightfall. However, I had been completely unaware that in art there is Mary (Virgin) specifically for the first time Mary brings Jesus to temple that appears only this time of year.
Part of my confusion was in this image Jesus was only over a little a month old so as any parent knows, newborns look like gerbils. In art Jesus appears to be able hold his own head and spine erect as if he were six months old. Mary’s dress varies greatly but here is featured displaying spring flowers.
The Virgin of Candlearia started out with her appearance in the Canary Islands, Spain. Her legend came with the Spanish to Mexico right from the start. Hernan Cortes wore a medallion of the Virgin of Candlearia from the Canary Islands around his neck when he arrived in Mexico.
February second, Candlearia, fell during Aztec agricultural festivals and was quickly adapted by the indigenous. Candlearia, adapted from the German word Candlemass or celebrating mass by candlelight to dispel the darkness of winter marks our start of spring being a bit farther south. On Candlearia you can buy a candle featuring the Virgin of Candlearia in front of the Oratorio. Blessed during mass the candle is again brought out at home during times of need to bring blessings to the situation reminding us after winter’s bad times/death come spring and new life.