Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria It is a recognized Marian invocation, which is celebrated in many parts of the world this February 2.
The Virgen de la Candelaria is one of the oldest invocations of the Virgin Mary, whose liturgical feast is celebrated throughout the Catholic Church on February 2, although her main feast is celebrated on August 15 in the Canary Islands in Spain.aña.
We now propose 10 elements that you may not have known about the Virgin of La Candelaria and its celebration in Cuba:
1. The Virgin of Candelaria appeared for the first time in Tenerife, España
It is said that the image of the Virgin appeared around 1400 at the mouth of the Chimisay ravine, in the Canarian municipality of Güímar, 95 years before the conquest of Tenerife.
Although the original image that was venerated on the Canary Island disappeared as a result of a natural catastrophe, a very similar one is preserved in one of the island's temples.
Also in Santa Cruz de Tenerife a beautiful and spacious sanctuary is dedicated to this devotion.
And it is that until the nineteenth century La Candelaria was considered the only patron of the seven main islands that make up Tenerife. But when the ecclesiastical regions were divided, she has remained the sole patron of the diocese of Tenerife.
However, rituals and miracles are attributed to the Virgin of La Candelaria in the world that have given her the title of "Universal Patroness" in Spain.aña. Throughout the country she is one of the most revered deities.
2. It is known as The Black Virgin
In some of the representations of La Candelaria, we can see that her face is black and her clothes are filled with blue, white and gold. Also, she carries a baby on her left arm.
It is said that her image is due to the esoteric significance of recognized fame and miracles that, without denying the Christian tradition of Mary, those known as "Black Virgins" have.
3. The origin of the cult of La Candelaria could be a pagan ritual
The devotion as a feast of "the candles" for the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of the Virgin Mary, could have its origin in secular festivals of ancient Rome, as many experts have explained.
The name of the festival of La Candelaria comes from the candles (or candles) that the devotees carried in the processions, so the festival would replace the great festivities of atonement and purification that took place in ancient Rome in mid-February.
So this pagan celebration was changed to February 2, 40 days after Christmas.
And in Tenerife, the aborigines, also known as Guanches, worshiped an image that appeared on its coasts in the XNUMXth century, prior to the entry of Catholicism into that territory.
4. There is a great cult of La Candelaria in America
The Spanish immigrants who arrived in America at the time of the conquest, brought with them faith in Our Lady of Candelaria.
It is said that the conqueror Hernán Cortés was a great devotee of the Virgin, for that reason, there are more than 30 places in the American continent that bear his name in tribute.
Peru, Mexico and Cuba are the Latin American countries with the greatest presence of the cult of the Virgin of La Candelaria.
5. La Candelaria arrived in Cuba with the canaries
Marian devotion as Virgen de la Candelaria came to Cuba, like the rest of Latin America, from the hand of Canarian immigrants, mainly farm workers.
But it is said that his cult reached an immense diffusion in the Cuban reality in a short time, becoming a patronal feast of more than one town.
This process began almost at the same time as the publication for the first time in Seville, in 1594, of the book by the Dominican priest Alonso de Espinosa "On the Origin and Miracles of the image of Our Lady of Candelaria that appeared on the Island of Tenerife", that greatly promoted the cult of the Virgin in many parts of the world.
6. She is the patron Virgin of the province of Camagüey
In Cuba, La Candelaria is the patron saint of the province of Camagüey.
There a carving of him is located on the altar of the Greater Parish and the Cubans come every February 2 to celebrate a massive mass in which they pray, beg and ask the Virgin for his blessing.
History indicates that the Villa del Puerto del Príncipe, today Camagüey, was officially founded during the Candelaria festivities of 1514 and that by then it held the title of city.
There is also a Cuban town that bears this name, Candelaria, founded by the Canaries several centuries ago and several towns have her as their patron and protector.
7. “Cutting the ends of the hair” and other Cuban traditions
To celebrate Candlemas Day, tradition tells many people to trim their hair and also to prune trees, as it is said that the blessing of the Virgin will give both of them greater strength and vigor.
During the celebration in different parts of Cuba on February 2, the candles that will be needed throughout the year are blessed.
Thus, the locals ask La Candelaria that there is never a lack of light in homes and that it drives away darkness and bad omens.
That day a mass is celebrated to which the faithful come with candles, which are blessed by the priest and carried in a short procession between two nearby churches or inside the same church.
Traditions in honor of Candelaria in Cuba
This is the celebration in the town of Ceiba Mocha, in Matanzas, where the Candlemas Festival has also become a cultural tradition full of charm in which hundreds of devotees light candles and carry them to the small church of the town, to which believers and non-believers come in search of blessings.
The presence of the cult of La Candelaria stands out in the Escambray region, in the city of Trinidad. On the foothills of the Loma del Vigía is the temple dedicated to La Candelaria known as “La Popa”, whose pilgrimages reached immense splendor.
Further west in the Escambray massif itself, but closer to Cienfuegos, the small town of La Sierrita also has the Virgen de la Candelaria as its patron saint and the next town on the road is called San Blas, so that the image would move back and forth every February 3 with ease.
Also in the “Valle de los Ingenios”, in Trinidad, since the Río de Ay farmhouse was founded in the XNUMXth century, the La Candelaria festivities were celebrated, the festival of which was financed every year through raffles and alms.
8. The Festival of Candelaria is celebrated for 3 days in Cuba, as in España
La Candelaria is celebrated for three days, from Vespers, the first day of February, through the day properly dedicated to La Candelaria, which is February 2, until the next day when San Blas Obispo is celebrated.
The Canarian custom of carrying on a pilgrimage on February 3, the image of San Blas, on a round trip, to the Candelaria temple, to be blessed is also continued in Cuba.
9. The cult of La Candelaria was in its beginnings, greater than that of La Caridad del Cobre in Cuba.
La Candelaria and its cult, in its beginnings, was spread by each locality or settlement of Canarian immigrants.
For this reason, it is said that by the XNUMXth century, there were only five parochial temples dedicated to the Virgin of Caridad del Cobre, today the patron saint of Cuba, and all classified as low-ranking parishes.
In contrast, the devotion to the Virgen de la Candelaria during the first three centuries of contemporary history, reached the number of 14 dedicated temples.
And seven towns of relative importance had her as Patroness, counting one of the first Cuban towns, Camagüey or Puerto Príncipe, while only two were dedicated to the Virgin of Charity.
By the XNUMXth century, with a greater diffusion of the Marian invocation as Virgen de la Caridad, her cult significantly surpassed the number of places of worship dedicated to La Candelaria.
10. The Virgin of Candelaria syncretizes with the Orisha de la Centella, Oyá
As a result of transculturation, Our Lady of La Candelaria is syncretized with Oyá, African Orisha and goddess of the Yoruba religion linked to the power of the winds, the winds of change and the winds of the Mind.
Oyá Yansa is the accompanying goddessañante of the regent orisha Obbatalá and represents the Pure Air. She is the goddess of storms and the strong wind that precedes them.
In Cuba, Oyá It is associated with other atmospheric phenomena, such as the spark, the windstorm and lightning, and its cult is extremely important and sacred in Afro-Cuban religion.