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Tamales on Candlemas Day, only in Mexico

By Tribune Travel

February 02, 2022

Why do Mexican eat tamales on Candlemas Day? Candlemas or Candelaria Day, observed on February 2nd, is one of the most well-known and significant feasts among Mexican Catholics. But what exactly is this tradition?

Every January 6, various American countries commemorate by eating a Rosca. It always contains a figurine (or numerous figures) of the Child Jesus. It is a symbolic manner of recalling the day the Three Wise Men from the East arrived in Bethlehem to honor God’s newborn son.

This is a very strong Mexican tradition. Whoever receives this figure must organize a tamale celebration on February 2, the day of Candlemas. What is the significance of this custom?


Jewish origin of the tradition

To understand the roots of Candelaria Day, one needs travel back more than 2,000 years. To the year Jesus was born, more precisely. In Jewish custom, both the mother and the child had to let 40 days pass after birth. Then, they were clean of impurities and could attend the temple.

Jesus was born on December 25. Mary followed Jewish tradition, so she took him to the temple in Jerusalem for presentation and purification.

In addition to this Judeo-Christian legacy, another pre-Hispanic rite akin to the Aztec civilization exists in Mexico. In the Mexican calendars, February 2 marked the start of the new year.

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Tamales are a traditional Mexican meal that has been prevalent in Mexican culture for millennia. And it was with corn, according to mythology, that the Gods created man.

As a result, on February 2, Candlemas Day, Mexicans eat tamales. This delectable meal is often present at other holidays, such as Christmas, and is typically atole or hot chocolate down it.


What is the meaning of the name Candelaria?

Although this day’s name is Candelaria in Mexican custom, it is also observed on February 2 in many other nations under a different name.

This celebration has names such as The Presentation of the Lord, The Festival of Las Candelas, or The Festival of Light. And, in the Christian belief, Jesus represents the Light that came to illuminate humanity, much like a candle. As a result, it is known as Candelaria in Mexico.

As we said, this holiday brings together two traditions, one of Spanish and Judeo-Christian heritage and the other indigenous Mexican.







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