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Exactly forty days after Christmas, the new peasant year begins at the church festival of Mariä Lichtmess. The custom is firmly rooted in popular belief and its origins date back to the biblical era.
Traditionally, Candlemas candles are dedicated to Candlemas. The blessed candles are awarded a high protective power.
Traditionally, in Candlemas churches, the entire candle supply for the beginning of the peasant year is dedicated to Mary Candlemas. The blessed candles are ascribed a high protective power against impending disaster. Mariä Lichtmess was once considered the end of the Christmas season in the Catholic Church. Even today it is common in some areas, such as in Saxony or in regions of the Erzgebirge, to leave the Christmas decorations in church rooms until February 2.
Lichtmess used to be in the Catholic Church earlier than the end of the Christmas periodExactly forty days after Christmas, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Assumption. It is reminiscent of the visit of Mary with the boy Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem. According to the Jewish faith, the woman was forty days after the birth of a boy and eighty days after the birth of a girl as unclean. Therefore, the original name of the church festival "Virgin Mary" comes from. As a cleansing sacrifice, a sheep and a dove had to be handed over to the priest. In the fourth century, Mariä Lichtmess was created as a side event of the birth of Christ. In the fifth century it was enriched by the custom of the procession of lights, from which the candles were consecrated. The name of Lichtmess, "Feast of the Presentation of the Lord", officially used by the Catholic Church since 1960, also goes back to ancient Christian customs in Jerusalem: in memory of the Passover night, the first-born son was considered the property of God. In the temple he had to give God ("represented") and then be triggered by a money sacrifice.
At Maria Lichtmess the peasant year begins
Some peasant rules rate sunshine at Lichtmess as a bad sign for the upcoming springLichtmess also marks the beginning of the peasant year. On this day the work was resumed. At the same time, the year of service ended. The servant was paid the remainder of the annual salary. In addition, or rather, the peasant servants could seek new employment or extend the employment contract with the old employer for another year. At Maria Lichtmess the farmer should have half of the feed for the animals in the camp. There are some peasants rules that rate sunshine at light meter as a bad sign for the upcoming spring. For example:
Is it bright and pure at Lichtmess,
will be a long winter.
But when it storms and snows,
Spring is not far away.
Is it clear and bright to light meter,
Spring is not coming so fast.
Another farmer rule in connection with Maria Lichtmess is:
When at lightmeasure the badger sees his shadow,
he goes back to his building for six weeks.
This farmer's rule is quite similar in the United States, except that the behavior of the badger is not observed in the light of Mary, but that of a marmot. The Groundhog Day, the Groundhog Day, (known for example in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania) is also celebrated on February 2nd.