Candlemas Day, like many other Mexican celebrations, represents a fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions and Catholic beliefs. Celebrated on February 2nd, it falls forty days after Christmas, and is celebrated by Catholics as the “Feast of Purification”. According to Jewish law it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after that period of time had passed. So Jesus would have been taken to the temple on February second.

In Mexico, Candlemas Day is a follow-up to the festivities of Kings Day on January 6th, when children receive gifts and families and friends gather together to eat Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines of a baby (representing the Child Jesus) hidden inside. The person who received the figurines on Kings Day are supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day.

Tamales are the food of choice.Mexican tamales (tamal is the Mexican “singular” use of the word) are packets of corn dough with a beef, chicken or bean filling and typically wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves. The packets are steamed and eaten. Contrary to what is found in most Mexican restaurants, most tamales are not served with a sauce, but rather simple and plain.

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