The third great festival of light is Candlemas OR The Presentation of Christ in the Temple OR the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (February 2) is coming up soon. Copy this link to learn more about the day:
We will be having a potluck dinner beginning at 6 p.m. and one of the traditional foods eaten on this day is crêpes. Maybe you’d want to make and bring some to share.
Here’s why they’re used:
In France, Candlemas, La Chandeleur, is celebrated with crêpes. According to tradition, Pope Gelasius I, is credited with having fed pilgrims with crêpes. People looking for more ancient roots to the custom claim that the round crêpe resembles the sun whose return is celebrated on the pagan festivals often celebrated at the same time of year. As the Church has often incorporated homely folk customs into her observances, we see no conflict here, for Christ is indeed the Sun of Righteousness. In fact, pancakes serve a very useful function at this time of year, especially when Lent begins soon after Candlemas, for crêpes and other sorts of pancakes are a good way of using up eggs and butter and other rich foods that are given up in Lent. Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is another day when crêpes are eaten–with various rich fillings. One appropriate filling or topping is strawberries because they are sometimes called “Fruitful Virgin” and remind us of Mary.
Here is a recipe for crêpes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup water
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
Place the ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth. Or, mix in a bowl with a wire whisk or mixer, first combining flour and eggs, then adding liquids gradually. Beat until smooth; add other ingredients. Pour a thin layer of batter on a hot iron griddle or crêpe pan, tipping the pan to spread the batter evenly. When the surface of the crêpe is covered with small bubbles, turn the crêpe with a spatula or by flipping it and cook briefly until done. This will make about 16 crêpes. Crêpes will keep up to a month in the freezer or a week in the refrigerator.
The strawberry filling is simplicity itself. Simply slice the strawberries and sprinkle them with a bit of sugar. When the crêpes are ready, fill them with strawberries, add some whipped cream, and roll. If fresh strawberries are not available, and if you forgot to buy and freeze some when they were in season, strawberry jam makes a very satisfactory substitute.
Because this day celebrates the coming of the Light (Jesus) into the temple to his people Israel, we will be blessing all the candles that will be used liturgically during the year AND the candles to be used in individual homes. Please bring some new, unused candles for this part of the festivities. We will also be doing a special procession before Holy Communion with candles to “reenact” the entrance of Christ into His Temple.
Traditions and festivals are wonderful ways of connecting us with heavenly Truth. Let us be thankful for the goodness of the Church’s traditions in helping us to celebrate more fully the gifts we’ve been given through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The English poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674) describes two old Candlemas customs. In the first set of verses, the “Christmas brand” is the Yule Log.