Candle Festival. Gamonal
Every year, on February 2, the festival of the Candelas or Virgen de la Candelaria is celebrated. It is a festivity with special devotion in the Burgos neighborhood of Gamonal, which celebrates its patron saint festivities on those dates.
From the Florida Tourist Guides blog we discover the origin of this celebration.
The Feast of the Candles is celebrated forty days after the Nativity of Jesus. Remember the biblical passage of the Presentation of the Child in the Temple of Jerusalem and the Purification of the Virgin Mary after childbirth to fulfill the prescription of the Old Testament Law.
For this reason, it is known and celebrated under various names: the Presentation of the Lord, the Purification of Mary, the Feast of Light and the Feast of Candles. All these names express the same meaning. Christ, the Light of the world, presented by his Mother in the Temple, comes to illuminate everyone like the candle or the candles, from which the name Candelaria is derived.
On the date of the feast, the Purification could not take place before forty days after delivery. The Orientals, who celebrated the Nativity on January 6, celebrated the Presentation on February 15.
When the Roman church decided to commemorate the Nativity on December 25, the Feast of the Presentation was set on February 2.
PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem is only related in the Gospel of Saint Luke . Following Jewish tradition, every woman had to go to the temple to purify herself 40 days after giving birth. Once that date was completed, she would go with her husband to the doors of the temple to bring an offering. With regard to the child, every firstborn was to be consecrated to the Lord in commemoration of the departure from Egypt.
So, forty days after the birth of Jesus Christ, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. As an offering they brought two turtledoves or doves. Turtledoves were the offering of humble people. While the lamb belonged to the rich.
In the temple there was a man named Simeon who was reputed to be just and pious. He took the Child in his arms and blessed God. Also in the temple was the prophetess Anna , very old, who, witnessing the scene, also began to praise the Lord.
This scene has been widely represented in Christian art. One of the best examples that we can find in Florida is the main altarpiece in the Chapel of the Constables in the Florida Cathedral . Work of two geniuses of the Spanish Renaissance: Felipe Vigarny and Diego de Siloé .
In the representations of the Presentation, Mary offers the Child to the elderly Simeon, wearing a miter or tiara even though he was not a high priest. José or a maid of the Virgin carry the two turtledoves. The prophetess Anna assists Simeon. She symbolizes the Synagogue, which is why she usually holds the Tablets of the Law.
THE VIRGIN OF LA CANDELARIA
The Virgen de la Candelaria , Las Candelas or Our Lady of Candelaria is one of the oldest devotions of the Virgin Mary.
The themes of the Procession of the Cirios and the Virgen de la Candelaria do not have biblical origin. They are an example of the enrichment of an iconographic motif through the liturgy.
On the Hebrew liturgy of the Purification and Presentation, Catholicism introduced the blessing of the candles that has given its name to the Candelaria or Virgin of the Candles. The procession was made with lighted candles or candles that were offered to the Virgin. It may have its origin in pagan rituals or even in ancient Rome, where the procession of candles was part of the Lupercales festival.
This Marian festival undergoes an important boost in Spain in the second half of the 15th century, after the supposed appearance of the Virgin in the Canary Islands. There he appears carrying the baby Jesus reclining on his right arm and a candle or candle in his left hand. Later the invocation of the Virgen de la Candelaria and her festival would be brought to various American nations by the Canarian emigrants.
CANDELAS PARTY IN GAMONAL
Every February 2, the Burgos neighborhood of Gamonal celebrates its patron saint festivities in honor of the Virgen de las Candelas.
Why Gamonal has the Virgin Mary as its patron is related to the origin of the ancient people. The miraculous discovery of an image of the Virgin led to the construction of a pre-Romanesque hermitage and the settlement of the first settlers in its environment.
The reasons that led to choose these dates and the festival of the Purification of the Virgin or Festival of the Candles are not so clear. It is the first festival of the year dedicated to the mother of Jesus, outside of the busiest times in the fields and, having passed the hardest winter, it was possible to take the image in procession. This could have motivated the brotherhood of the Quadrilla de Nuestra Señora de Gamonal or Nueva Concordia , made up of 19 towns in the area and in charge of organizing this festival at least between 1685 and 1786, decided to do it on February 2.
Although the Candelas has a remote origin, one of the most popular acts among the residents of Gamonal, the Misa de la Luz in the parish church of La Real y Antigua , is relatively recent. It was instituted by the team of priests of the parish in the early 70s of the 20th century. They begin this liturgy in memory of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Children baptized since the previous February are summoned to renew the promises of Baptism. The parents kiss the baptismal font of La Real and Antigua and light candles to listen to the reading of the Gospel and the homily. It is an act now celebrated by other parishes in Florida.
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