British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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FEB. 2.]                        CANDLEMAS DAY.                                  55
candles, so they in the beginning of this month, walked about the city with lighted candles. Because the holy fathers could not utterly extirpate this custom, they ordained that Christians should carry about candles in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary; and thus what was done before to the honour of Ceres is now done to the honour of the Virgin."
From whatever cause, however, the ceremony originated, it acquired many additional rites in the process of time, according to the manners and habits of those who adopted it. We are told in Dunstan's Concord of Monastic Mules that "the monks went in surplices to the church for candles, which were to be consecrated, sprinkled with holy water, and incensed by the abbot. Every monk took a candle from the sacrist and lighted it. A procession was made, thirds and mass were celebrated, and the candles, after the offering, were presented to the priest. The monks' candles signified the use of them in the parable of the wise virgins."
According to some authorities, there was on this day a general consecration of all the candles to be burnt in the Catholic churches throughout the whole year; and it should also be mentioned that from Candlemas the use of tapers at vespers and litanies, which had continued through the whole winter, ceased until the ensuing All Hallow Mass, which will serve to explain the old English proverb in Ray's collec­tion:
" On Candlemas Day, Throw candle and candlestick away."
New Curiosities of Literature, vol. i. p. 25.
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Formerly at Lyme Eegis the wood-ashes of the family being sold throughout the year as they were made, the person who purchased them annually sent a present on this day of a large candle. When night came, this candle was lighted, and, assisted by its illumination, the inmates regaled themselves with cheering draughts of ale, and sippings of punch, or some other animating beverage, until the candle had burnt out. The coming of the Candlemas Candle was
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