Feb 01

Día de la Candelaria or "Candlemas"

On February 2nd, Mexico will celebrate la Día de la Candelaria, sometimes known as “Candlemas.” This religious and family holiday is a month-long celebration, filled with parades, religious blessings, and of course, feasting on traditional tamales throughout.

[Photos © Manzanillo.com, garuyo.com]

In fact, the celebrations begin exactly on January 6th, Three Kings Day. Throughout Latin America, it is customary to prepare and eat Rosca de Reyes, a sweet bread with a small figurine of a baby (to represent Christ) hidden inside. Whoever finds the figurine hosts the Candlemas feast -- and makes all the tamales, a traditional Mesoamerican dish, for their family!

But, Día de la Candelaria isn’t only about food -- it’s a religious celebration to commemorate the rise of Jesus Christ, since January 2nd represents the day Jesus was presented in Church, exactly 40 days after he was born. At that time, Mary presented Jesus with an abundance of candles (“candelas”) to God.

During this period, it is customary to dress a figurine of Baby Jesus and present him to the Church, just as Mary and Joseph had. Traditionally, the Baby Jesus is dress in white to represent purity and divinity. Baby Jesus, along with candles, are brought to the Church to pay homage to the recognition of Jesus Christ -- followed by the “tamalada” feast. This includes tamales and the sweet traditional drinks, atole de pinole and champurrado (thick hot chocolate).

So, if you and your family want to celebrate Día de la Candelaria this February (religiously or not), try hosting your own tamalade! Here, you can find recipes for traditional tamales, atole de pinole, and champurrado.

[Photos © saltaandwind.com]

Make sure to send pictures to our Facebook page -- we can’t wait to see what you try!

Feliz Día de la Candelaria!