La Candelaria

17th or 18th century
Wood, polychrome, fabric clothing, metal crowns, plastic (?) candle; glass case.
Church of San Juan Teitipac, Oaxaca, Mexico

In Candelaria images the Virgin holds the Christ Child in her arms. Ordinarily both will have crowns and the baby will be holding the fingers of his right hand in the blessing configuration. Mary will be holding a candle.

The candle refers to Candlemas, the feast on February 2 that memorializes the Presentation of Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple, where a man named Simeon says the child will be "a light to the revelation of the Gentiles" (2:32). In Catholic churches this light is celebrated with a blessing of candles, and in Latin countries there has been a tradition of processions in which santos such as this one are carried through the streets.

Candlemas is Candelaria in Spanish, and in Mexico the word also applies to the santo.

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Photographed at the site by Claire and Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.