Mexico City: Día de la Candelaria – February 2nd
Día de la Candelaria or dressing Niño Jesus as I call it, is celebrated on February 2nd of each year. I took pictures of a market in Mexico City’s Centro Historico District.
click picture of photo below for a slide show
Here is some information I got from the Internet, About.com – Mexico Travel:
Candlemas in Mexico:
Día de la Candelaria, or Candlemas, is celebrated on February 2nd, throughout Mexico. It is mainly a religious and family celebration, but in some places, such as Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, it is a major fiesta with bullfights and parades. Día de la Candelaria, like many other Mexican celebrations, represents a fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions and Catholic beliefs.
February 2nd marks the mid-way point between the winter solstice and spring equinox and has long been thought to be a marker or predictor of the weather to come, which is why it is also celebrated as Groundhog Day. In many places it is traditionally a time to prepare the earth for spring planting.
February 2nd also falls forty days after Christmas, and is celebrated by Catholics as the “Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin” or as the “Presentation of the Lord.” According to Jewish law a woman was considered unclean for 40 days after giving birth so it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after that period of time had passed. So Jesus would have been taken to the temple on February second.
In Mexico this holiday is celebrated as Día de la Candelaria, known as Candlemas in English, because candles were brought to the church to be blessed.
In Mexico Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Kings Day on January 6th, when children receive gifts and families and friends break bread together, specifically Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines hidden inside. The person (or people) who received the figurines on Kings Day are supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day. Tamales are the food of choice.
Another important custom in Mexico, particularly in areas where traditions run strong, is for families to own an image of the Christ child, a niño Dios. At times a godparent is chosen for the niño Dios, who is then responsible for hosting various celebrations between Christmas and Candlemas. First, on Christmas eve the niño Dios is placed in the Nativity scene, on January 6th, King’s Day, the child is brought presents from the Magi, and on February 2nd, the child is dressed in fine clothes and presented in the church. Click here for a slide show of pictures of Niño Dios that I took.