Christmastide Spans 40 Days

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 11, 2018   

Christmas season ends for traditional Catholics on February 2 with Candlemas Day

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Christmas is celebrated by both the secular world and traditional Catholics for about forty days. The difference is that worldly people start celebrating around Thanksgiving, while Catholics observe Advent and, therefore, start celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve.

In the Traditional Latin Mass calendar, Christmas season ends February 2 on what's called Candlemas Day with simultaneous feasts: the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of her divine Child Jesus in the Temple. These feasts are an extension of Christ's Nativity as Luke 2:22–24 records:

And when the days of her purification were fulfilled according to the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord" and to offer sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."

After the 40 day season of Christmas ends on February 2, traditional churches will remove their poinsettias and last vestiges of Christmas decor. Traditional Catholics will do likewise. The secular world, however, looks on such Catholics as quite odd for keeping their Christmas spirit up for so long.
 
This is because the general public has fallen victim to the commercialization of Christmas, which urges shoppers to begin their 40-day celebration of Christmas at Thanksgiving with Black Friday shopping and then stop after New Year's day.  This commercialization of Christmas is, in part, owing to a mandate by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1939, Roosevelt actually moved up the date of Thanksgiving in order to give retailers more time to sell goods to Christmas shoppers.

Watch the panel discuss the reason for the season in The Download—It's Still Christmas.

 

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