2nd of February in Mexico

by Jim on 2 February 2011

Today in Mexico it’s the Día de la Candelaria.  For some it’s an excuse for a party, but its origins are religious.  For many people in Mexico the 2nd of February has important religious significance.

The 2nd of February is the time when people remember Jesus’ presentation at the temple by His parents.  It’s been traditionally a time when candles were brought to the Roman Catholic Church to be blessed.  But here in Mexico, other things are blessed too – most notably, the baby Jesus figure from nativity scenes (el Niño Jesús or Niño Dios).

It’s also the time to fix up the figure – re-paint it, buy a new christening robe for it, fix the chips, maybe even get a new one.  I’ve also seen people by the side of the road collecting money to have larger statues (like of the adult Jesus) fixed up.

Commonly here in our housing development there has been a "Baby Jesus Hospital", where the little statues can be fixed up.  I keep wanting to take a picture, but I never remember in time.  I do have this far-away blurry shot – it will have to do for now. 🙂 In front of the little white shed there’s a low platform with red on it – on there are two or three rows of large Jesus figures (they’re usually way bigger than the other figures in the manger scene – way out of proportion!).

Baby Jesus Hospital

What follows are religious rituals, such as a mass where the priest (they believe) offers up Christ as a non-bloody sacrifice again in the wine and the wafers of the Eucharist.

Baby Jesus Figure
Photo courtesy of fontplaydotcom

 The figure receives a special blessing, before being put away for another year.

Sometimes a godparent is actually chosen for the figure.  Certain people will host celebrations for the little statue and be responsible to buy the fine clothes that it will wear to the mass today.

Because of all the various religious beliefs connected with the figure and the nativity scene, and the veneration given to the little statue, many Christians in Mexico don’t keep nativity scenes in their homes.

This marks the end of the Christmas season.  Now – only 5 weeks until Lent begins!

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