Representation of the Lord

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Offering in the Temple (Master of the Pollinger Tablets, 1444)
Representation of the Lord ( Hans Holbein the Elder , 1501, Hamburger Kunsthalle )

Presentation of the Lord , Latin Praesentatio Jesu in Templo , ancient Greek ὑπαπαντὴ τοῦ Κυρίου , ancient Jesus' sacrifice in the temple , formerly also Virgin Mary Purification or Purificatio Beatae Mariae Virginis "Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary", popularly also Mariä Candlemas or (outdated) Our Lady and Hypapante (Greek ὑπαπαντή), is a festival celebrated on February 2 , the fortieth day after Christmas .

Biblical context

The story of the portrayal of Jesus, which follows a brief reference to his circumcision on the eighth day after his birth ( Lk 2.21  EU ), tells of two interwoven rites that have their roots in the prescriptions of the biblical book Leviticus . The sequence described in Luke (circumcision - cleansing of the woman - sanctification of the firstborn ) corresponds to the time schedule prescribed by the Torah .

Cleaning sacrifice

According to the biblical law of Moses, women are valid for 40 days after the birth of a boy (seven plus 33 days ( Lev 12.2–4  EU )) and after the birth of a girl 80 days (14 plus 66 days ( Lev 12.5  EU )) )) as unclean ( Lev 12.1–8  EU ). At the time of the temple cult, after these days, she had to give a priest a sheep and a dove as a cleansing offering. Poor people handed over two lovebirds or other pigeons ( Lev 12.8  EU ).

Sanctification of the firstborn

In addition, in memory of the Passover night , the firstborn son was regarded as the property of God ( Ex 13.2.15  EU ) and handed over to him in the temple (“represented”), where he was to be redeemed by a monetary offering ( Num 18.16  EU ). The story of Luke about the representation of the Lord tells of this consecration of the firstborn, but not of the redemption, which is still practiced in traditional Judaism ( Pidjon ha-Ben ).

In connection with the portrayal of Jesus there is an encounter (Greek Hypapante ) of Jesus and his parents with Simeon and the aged prophetess Hannah .


Hans Memling : Presentation of Christ in the Temple, around 1463

The religious celebration of the Presentation of the Lord goes back to the 4th century. It originated in Jerusalem as a side festival of the birth of Christ and was originally only referred to as the "fortieth day of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ ". It is already attested in the report of the Egeria about her trip to the Holy Land (around 400). The feast date was initially February 14th (40 days after the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th), from the 6th century on February 2nd (40 days after the solemnity of the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th, which is in the Western Church meanwhile as the celebration of the birth of Jesus had prevailed). According to liturgical counting, December 25th is to be counted as the first day of the forty-day period. In the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord is associated with the consecration of candles and the subsequent procession or statio with burning candles.


Originally the story of the portrayal of Jesus, handed down by Luke, was at the center of the festival, but other motifs were soon added. The portrayal of the Lord, who was born in Bethlehem according to the New Testament Christmas stories , became Jesus' first entry into the David city of Jerusalem. The ancient custom, according to which the inhabitants of a city went to meet their ruler on his first visit, was included in the festival liturgy early on. On the way from Jerusalem to Bethlehem was a monastery founded by a woman named Hikelia. Hikelia is said to have equipped the monks with candles in order to meet Christ and then move with him to the holy city. The light procession , which originated in the 5th century and still has a fixed place in the festive liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church and is justified, among other things, with the New Testament Bible passage ( Lk 2,32  EU ), is rooted in this legend . In this liturgical production, the local parish church symbolically represents the holy city of Jerusalem, in which Christ is present. When entering the church, the processionists meet Christ. So they accompany his coming into our world with the light of the candles that were specially consecrated for this festival . In the 6th century, under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I , it was also celebrated as the "festival of meeting" with Simeon and Hanna. The festive secrets - representation, enlightenment of the pagans, light procession - are echoed in the song text See our Lord's mercy , written by Maria Luise Thurmair , presented in the temple, shining all over the world by a virgin poor .

In the course of further developments, the focus of the presentation festival shifted from Jesus to the mother of Jesus. The feast of the Presentation of the Lord became the Purification of the Virgin and Candlemas . Since the liturgical reform of the 1960s, it has again been regarded as a men's festival . Since 1997, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord has also been celebrated as a day of consecrated life .

By bringing the festival forward from February 14th to February 2nd, a temporal proximity to the memorial day of St. Blasius on February 3rd and the associated sacramental of the Blasius blessing . The Blasiussegen has been donated in the Roman Catholic Church since the 16th century. This blessing is often given after the Holy Mass on the evening of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord .

Liturgical calendar

Christmas time in the Catholic Church ended earlier on Candlemas, which was connected with the rite of the closing of the crib. In many Catholic churches and houses, the nativity scene or the Christmas tree remain in place until February 2nd according to the old tradition. After the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s, the Christmas season ends in the ordinary form of the Roman rite on the feast of the baptism of the Lord , the Sunday following the solemnity of the apparition of the Lord (Epiphany) on January 6th.

In the Protestant church year, Epiphany is seen by many as the end of the Christmas season, but the liturgical calendar of the Protestant church service book only sees the Christmas festival circle as ended in the week after the last Sunday after Epiphany (liturgical color white). After the pericopes revision of 2017, valid for the first time for the church year 2018/2019, this is the liturgical week (beginning with the Sunday in question) in which February 2nd falls. The day's song for February 2nd is yours in peace, o Herre mein or Luther's. With Fried and Freud I'm going there , both adaptations of the Nunc dimittis . The festival is only celebrated as a worship service in a relatively small number of Lutheran congregations.

The Eastern Church calls the festival Hypapante (Ὑπαπαντή = encounter). It emphasizes the aspect of the Savior's encounter with the upright who await Him. In a formulation of the third antiphon of the festive liturgy, the Easter mystery sounds already, the preparatory phase of which, the pre-fasting period , can begin even before the meeting.

The Anglican churches also celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord . The Lutheran Church kept the date in its liturgical calendar. Biblical readings for the day Jesus is presented in the temple ( Candlemas ) are Exodus 13 : 1.2.14-16 LUT , Lk 2.22-35 (36-40) LUT and Hebrews 2.14-18 LUT .

The festival in tradition and vernacular

Costume of a Candlemas Runner in Spergau (district of Leuna )

The feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Virgin Mary Cleaning, Mary Candlemas) was an important date ( Lost Day ) in the course of the year in earlier times . It was linked to payment deadlines, fixed employment contracts and the beginning of the “farmer's year”. In addition, some folk customs, proverbs, rhymes and weather rules related to this festival day.

The “farmer's year” began on February 2nd, from then on, depending on the circumstances, field work can be resumed. On this day, however, ended the servant - and " servant year ". The servants received the rest of their annual wages and could - or had to - look for a new job or extend the employment relationship with the old employer, usually by handshake, for another year. Most of the time, the servants sold the poultry they raised (see Glanglmarkt ). The next day, Schlenggeltag , began the short period up to Agatha Day on February 5, when the move to the new employer had to be carried out and which represented a kind of vacation for the servants. There was also a widespread custom of giving the servants at Candlemas a pair of shoes as wages for further work or for looking for work. At Candlemas, the workforce was mixed up and love affairs among servants, who were not allowed to marry for a long time, often only lasted until this point in time, which is where the saying “new shoes, new love” comes from.

In addition, the farmer at Candlemas should still have half of the winter feed stock for the animals in the camp.

On Mariä Lichtmess, the "artificial light time" came to an end, when people worked with artificial light sources, as did the spinning room time. Both had started on Michaelmas Day , September 29th.

  • Special customs for Candlemas in the Spergau district of Leuna have been known since the 17th century. The colorful costume of the candlestick in Spergau consists of many colorful ribbons and floral decorations that represent the awakening of life and spring . The runner moves through the streets from house to house together with other costumed figures (singers, traders, peep- showers , kitchen boys , registrars, plank bears , straw bears , horses and soldiers).
  • Until 1912 February 2nd was a public holiday in Bavaria .
  • In parts of western Germany, southern Germany, Saxony and in some regions of the Ore Mountains it is still customary to leave the Christmas decorations in place until February 2nd.
  • On the occasion of the festival, regional traditional light-measuring pastries are offered.
  • In Saxony and in some regions of the Ore Mountains, the end of the Christmas season is celebrated with a light measurement vesper. Then the Christmas lights are extinguished and a festive dinner is held.
  • In Luxembourg, children under the age of twelve walk the streets with homemade lanterns in the evening and ask for sweets or a donation at the front doors. A song will be sung during the parade.
  • In many communities in which the Swabian-Alemannic Carnival is celebrated, Candlemas is considered the beginning of the Carnival .
  • The daylight should be longer than the time of the winter solstice , ie the longest night, "at Christmas by a houndstooth, at New Year by a man's step, at Epiphany by a deer jump and at Candlemas by a whole hour" ".
  • There are several farmer rules that see sunshine at Candlemas as a bad sign of the coming spring.

  If it is clear and pure at Candlemas,
  it will be a long winter.
  But when it storms and snows,
  spring is not far away.

  If it's clear and bright at Candlemas,
  spring won't come so quickly.

  The badger sundays in the Candlemas week, he
  crawls into his hole for another six weeks.

  • Another pawn rule says:

  A tree, planted by St. Michael,
  grows from that hour on by command.
  A tree, planted at
  Candlemas , see how you teach it to grow.

  • The Groundhog Day , observing the behavior of a marmot that day in North America (especially in Punxsutawney , Pennsylvania ), the transfer of this nature observation in the context of the New World ; cinematically edited in Groundhog Day .
  • At Lichtmess, the early mass usually takes place in daylight again.
  • From February 2nd, it is possible to have dinner again in daylight: “Maria Lichtmess, gess by day and night”.
  • The Candlemas Islands (light measuring islands ) were named after the day they were discovered, February 2, 1775.
Representation of the Lord ( Toronto Cathedral , Mayer'sche Hofkunstanstalt )



  • Remigius Bäumer , Leo Scheffczyk (Ed.): Marienlexikon. Volume 4: Lajitha - Orange Tree. EOS, St. Ottilien 1992, ISBN 3-88096-894-2 .
  • Heinzgerd Brakmann : Ἡ ὑπαπαντὴ τοῦ Κυρίου. Christ Candlemas in early Christian Jerusalem. In: Hans-Jürgen Feulner et al. (Ed.): Crossroad of Cultures. Studies in Liturgy and Patristics in Honor of Gabriele Winkler (= Orientalia Christiana Analecta. Volume 260). Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Rome 2000, ISBN 88-7210-325-8 , pp. 151-172 (with further literature).
  • Tinatin Chronz: Between the maintenance and loss of the Jerusalem heritage: the celebration of Hypapante in the Georgian Church . In: André Lossky, Manlio Sodi (ed.): La liturgie témoin de l'église. Conférences Saint-Serge. 57e Semaine d'Études Liturgiques. Paris, June 28 - June 1, 2010. Vatican City 2012, pp. 293–314.
  • Anke Fischer: Festivals and customs in Germany. Edition XXL, Fränkisch-Crumbach 2004, ISBN 3-89736-323-2 .
  • Anneke Fröhlich, Christine Foscher: The big book of festivals & customs: rituals, recipes and decorations . Blv, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-8354-1174-6 .
  • Othmar Keel, Mach Küchler and others: Place and landscapes of the Bible. Volume 1: Geographical-historical regional studies . Benziger, Zurich / Cologne; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1984, ISBN 3-545-23044-9 (Benziger), ISBN 3-525-50166-8 (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht).
  • Theodor Maas-Ewerd : Presentation of the Lord . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 3 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1995, Sp. 27 f .
  • Michael Prosser-Schell (Ed.): Scenic designs of Christian festivals: Contributions from the Carpathian Basin and from Germany (= series of publications by the Johannes Künzig Institute. Volume 13). Waxmann, Münster and others 2011, ISBN 978-3-8309-2499-9 (from the conference of the Johannes Künzig Institute for East German Folklore , contributions by Gábor Barna, Christoph Daxelmüller , Daniel Drascek, Tilman Kasten, József Liszka, László Lukács, Michael Prosser-Schell , Hans-Werner Retterath, Kincső Verebélyi, Cornelia Wolf).
  • Günther Richter: Festivals and customs through the ages: funfair, pumpkin and Knecht Ruprecht. Luther, Bielefeld 2011, ISBN 978-3-7858-0590-9 , p. 66 ff.

Web links

Commons : Representation of the Lord  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. This formulation is still in use as the clausula of the fourth joyful mystery of the rosary : "Jesus whom you, O virgin, offered up in the temple" (quem in templo praesentasti).
  2. Antiphonale Monasticum per diurnis horis. Juxta vota RR. DD. Abbatum congregationum confoederatarum ordinis Sancti Benedicti a solesmensibus monachis , 1934, p. 800, p. Xxiij.
  3. George Thebesii, Liegnitzische Jahrbücher, in which both the peculiarities of this city and the history of the Piastische Hertzoge in Silesia from their beginnings to the end of the 16th century [...] are examined [...] , Jungmann, 1733, p. 299.
  4. Alexander Dubrau: Article Nidda (January 2009), in: Wibilex (lexicon in the scientific biblical portal of the German Bible Society).
  5. Hypapante. In: Michael Buchberger (Ed.): Kirchliches Handlexikon. A reference book on the entire field of theology and its auxiliary sciences. Volume 1: A-H. Allgemeine Verlags-Gesellschaft, Munich 1907, Sp. 2065.
  6. ^ Manfred Becker-Huberti : Celebrations - Festivals - Seasons. Living customs all year round . Herder, Freiburg-Basel-Wien 1998, ISBN 3-451-27702-6 , p. 384f.
  7. Itinerarium Egeriae or Peregrinatio Aetheriae 26: "quadragesimae de epiphania cum summo honore hic celebrantur. [...]" ("The fortieth after Epiphany is celebrated here (meaning: in Jerusalem) with the greatest solemnity.")
  8. ^ Anke Fischer: Festivals and Customs in Germany. Munich 2004, ISBN 3-89736-323-2 , p. 14.
  9. Vatican Radio : The Feast of the Candlemas ( Memento of February 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), February 3, 2007.
  10. ^ Manfred Becker-Huberti: Celebrations - Festivals - Seasons. Living customs all year round . Herder, Freiburg-Basel-Wien 1998, ISBN 3-451-27702-6 , p. 96f.
  11. Gotteslob , edition for the Diocese of Passau. 2013 (No. 785).
  12. Schott missal , memorial day of St. Blasius.
  14. In the peace yours, o Herre mein (1898) by Friedrich Spitta based on a song for the hymn of praise of the prophet Simeon by Johann Englisch before 1530; EG 222 - Last Supper .
  15. EG 519 - Dying and Eternal Life, Burial .
  16. "[...] righteous old man, because in your arms you carry the liberator of our souls, who gives us the resurrection."
  17. Texts for the biblical readings since the pericope revision in 2018 for the day of Jesus' presentation in the temple (Candlemas). In: The calendar of the Protestant church year, accessed on February 2, 2021 . Until 2018 the reading texts for the day of the presentation of the Lord (candlestick). In: The calendar of the Protestant church year, accessed on February 2, 2021 . suggested: Mal 3,1-4  LUT , Hebr 2,14-18  LUT and Lk 2,22-24 (25-35)  LUT .
  18. For the following section see Labertal: Lichtmess ; Accessed December 21, 2013.
  19. ^ Manfred Becker-Huberti: Celebrations - Festivals - Seasons. Living customs all year round . Herder, Freiburg-Basel-Wien 1998, ISBN 3-451-27702-6 , p. 41.
  20. ^ Max Höfler: Lichtmessgebäcke In: Zeitschrift des Verein für Volkskunde 15, 1905, pp. 312–321.
  21. Dietmar Sehn: Christmas in Saxony , Erfurt 2013, p. 181f.
  22. ^ Manfred Becker-Huberti: Celebrations - Festivals - Seasons. Living customs all year round . Herder, Freiburg-Basel-Wien 1998, ISBN 3-451-27702-6 , p. 361.