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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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(p.139) 13 Candlemas
The Stations of the Sun

Ronald Hutton

Oxford University Press

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at once a festival of Christ and of his mother, was installed upon February 2. It took a long time to develop and its origins are obscure. It is first definitely recorded in seventh-century Rome, in a context which suggests that it had arrived from Gaul, but with a name which suggests that it had first appeared in the Greek world. Some sort of festival of the Purification was certainly operating among the eastern churches by the fourth century. Once the Roman Church had taken it up, its adoption throughout western Europe was assured, and rapid; it had reached England by the end of the seventh century, and by the time that Bede wrote had acquired its characteristic ritual of a candlelit procession.

Keywords:   Purification, Virgin Mary, festival, Christ, Rome, churches, Europe, England, Bede, procession

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