The blessed Virgin took with her to Jerusalem the infant Jesus, and the Candlemas procession recalls the journey of Mary and Joseph ascending to the temple to present “the Angel of the Covenant” (Epistle, Introit) as Malachy had prophesied.
With the feast of the Purification ends the Sanctoral Cycle of the Season after Epiphany. It is one of the oldest feasts of our Lady and in Rome in the seventh century it ranked after the Assumption. The feast is kept on February 2, because Mary, wishing to obey the Mosaic law, had to go to Jerusalem forty days after the birth of Jesus (December 25th, February 2nd) to offer the prescribed sacrifices. Mothers were to offer a lamb, or if their means did not allow, “two doves or two young pigeons”.