If Christmas is over, why does it still look like Christmas?
No, we are not being lazy. There is a longstanding tradition to keep Christmas décor and the Nativity Creche up until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. The Feast of the Presentation is celebrated forty days after Christmas and is traditionally the official end of Christmastide, marking the end of the liturgical seasons of Christmas and Epiphany. The feast also commemorates the third and final infancy epiphany since Jesus’ birth- the first to the shepherds, the second to the Magi, and the third to the righteous Israelites Sts. Simeon and Anna.
History of the Forty Days of Christmas
The entire Christmas Cycle is a crescendo of Christ’s manifesting Himself as God and King — to the shepherds, to the Magi, at His Baptism, to Simeon and the prophetess, Anna (Luke 2).
The days from the Feast of the Nativity to the Epiphany are known as “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. But Christmas doesn’t end as a season — i.e., the celebration of the events of Christ’s life as a child don’t end, and the great Christmas Cycle doesn’t end – until Candlemas on 2 February. On the 2nd February the New born Christ enters His temple, He is offered to the Father and He fulfils the requirements of His own Laws. God enters the temple really and truly wrapped in our humanity. At that time, Christmastide truly ends. So, You will notice that the Nativity Scenes and Christmas decor will remain in the church until Candlemas – Feast of the Presentation of The Lord, 2nd February.
|Christmas||Christ is born|
|Feast of the Holy Innocents||Herod slaughters the baby boys in order to kill the Christ Child|
|The Circumcision (the Octave of Christmas)||Jesus follows the Law|
|Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus||after He is circumcised, He is named and becomes a part of the Holy Family|
|Twelfth Night||The Twelve Days of Christmas as a Feast come to an end|
|Feast of the Epiphany||Jesus reveals His divinity to the three Magi, and during His Baptism, and at the wedding at Cana|
|Baptism of Our Lord||Octave of the Epiphany|
|Feast of the Purification (Candlemas)||40 days after giving birth, Mary goes to the Temple to be purified and to fulfill the laws as per the Old Testament Law of the firstborn. Christmas ends as a Season with Candlemas. During the Candlemas Mass father blesses all of the candles that will be used in the church throughout the year.|