Candle Day: Latvia

February 2 Sveču Diena, affectionately known as Svecīšu Diena

February 2 is a cross-quarter day. It’s the day that marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Depending on which hemisphere you’re in the cross-quarter day could also fall on February first. In the northern hemisphere, it means that winter is on its way out and spring is just around the corner.

Halfway to spring. Winter is going.

In Latvia, February second is called Candle Day. In fact, all of February is known as Candle Month. I’m not sure why maybe because it’s a dark month requiring more candles to brighten things up.

For many centuries Candle Day was a day for making candles out of wax or tallow. I imagine that by the time winter was half over the store of candles had been used up and needed to be replenished. Candles that are made on this day are supposed to burn bright and last long.

Flames can assist with meditation.

Candles are symbols of warmth and light. A flame is magical; it bears the powerful energy of light. It can calm and cleanse, but it can also destroy.

Candle Day traditions and practices vary from region to region. 

The most important thing is to be jovial to laugh and sing so you’ll be jovial happy, and full of laughter all year. To help the jollity along one must drink a great deal of beer and eat a lot.

Spending lots of money on this special day means you’ll be prosperous for the rest of the year.

Weather forecasting on this day in Latvia doesn’t involve rodents.

Dripping eaves mean a lovely spring.

A hard freeze means don’t expect a warm spring.

Fog on February second indicates that a rainy summer is in store.

Frost on trees predicts a bountiful summer.

Some of the information I found was consistent across more than one site. Other information was unique to one site. I admit I didn’t check all sites, there were many too many.

Don’t blow out the candle to get your wish. When you make it imbue it with positive thoughts.

A handmade candle is a special gift to make a special friend happy. The person who makes the candle should hold her hands over the wax and concentrate on the positive things she wishes the recipient of the finished candle to have–happiness, well-being, prosperity, love. These positive thoughts should continue while pouring the melted wax into the mold. When the candle is finished the maker should hold it in her hands while continuing to think of positive wishes for the recipient.

The candlemaker should tell the recipient of the positive wishes that the candle brings with it that way when he lights the candle he will think of her and the positive things she wishes for him. Sounds like a bonding ritual.

The candle should be lit naturally, that is with a match, not a lighter.

The flame is not to be blown out because you might blow away all the good wishes. Instead, it should be pinched out with moist fingers or with a snuffer.

Candle-makers were supposed to be in a good mood while at their task. That’s where feasting, beer-drinking, singing, and laughing come in. If the candle-maker is in a bad mood the candles will sputter and burn with a dim light. Another example of sympathetic magic.

There is so much candle lore it’s hard to fit into one blog post and still publish it on February second.

Happy Candle Day. dear readers. Be sure to eat, drink, sing, and laugh.

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6 thoughts on “Candle Day: Latvia”

  1. Latvian Candle Day (even better–Candle Month!) probably comes from the church calendar, as Feb. 2 is Candlemas, celebrating the presentation in the Temple (of Jesus) and the purification (of Mary), according to Jewish custom of the day..

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    1. I know. Possibly. But the Baltic peoples were not Christianized until the early 13th C. They probably made candles long before then. Because of the “mas” suffix I always assumed it was a Catholic thing.

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  2. Lovely and informative. Hmmm. Chuckle for the day. Wonder when it’s stormy on Candle Day whether the ground hog lights a candle and still sees his shadow?

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