Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snowdrops for Candlemas

I've been getting queries about church flowers for February.  Certainly one of the most beautiful feast days in the liturgical year is Candlemas (February 2 - Feast of the Presentation of the Lord; Feast of the Purification of the Virgin) with its candle procession. The associated flower is the Snowdrop (above) which blooms during February.   The liturgical color is white.

According to Mary Gardener John Stokes:

"An instance of the liturgical use and naming of a flower is the snowdrop, which in England is in bloom for the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, or Candlemas, February 2nd. It is recorded that, on the feast of the Purification, Our Lady's statue was carried from churches in procession to recall her trip to the temple with Joseph and the Child Jesus. Then pure white blooms of snowdrops were strewn for the entire day in the statue's place as special symbols of Mary's unstained purity. Because of this practice, the snowdrop was known as Purification Flower, Candlemas Bells, Our Lady of February, Fair Maids of February and The Virgin's Flower."
 If you are unable to find snowdrops in your part of the world, substitute another white flower -- for example, narcissus.  See my post White Flowers for Church Decoration for ideas.

Image:  Galanthus nivalis ("snowdrop").  From Wikimedia Commons.  Click for license.

1 comment:

Gretha said...

Wonderful! The first snowdrops are just appearing here in northern California, they should be plentiful by Candlemas! Thank you for this post. I am just looking over all of your older posts to see what I missed over the years...