Purification Rites


I wrote: "Candlemas (la candelaria), which celebrates the presentation of Christ in the temple, comes a month later, February 2. It is also the day of Purification. Yom Kippur, which is the Jewish feast of purification, comes in September or October-The Christians seems to have moved it to coincide with the presentation of Christ in the temple. This is a tricky business". Ed Jajko writes:

"There is some slight confusion here. Nothing has been moved. The Jewish day of penitence, Yom Kippur, has nothing to do with Candlemas, la Candelaria, the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, or the ritual purification of Mary after the birth of her son. They are entirely different things. Yom Kippur, as a general day of fasting and penitence, is a regular part of the Jewish calendar with its new year beginning in September. The purification rite of the presentation in the Temple was dependent on the time of birth, so such rites of purification went on throughout the year. A woman became ritually unclean by giving birth; to be restored to ritual cleanliness she had to perform certain rites, which in those days included sacrifice. That this involved Mary, who from Christian perspective was sinless, didn't matter, since she was still a Jew living in Jewish society. Rites of ritual purity are still observed, although sacrifice of living animals is not required.

RH: My information coincided with that of Ed, but articles on purification quoted Yom Kippur as a prime example. It would seem that when the Virgin Mary underwent her purification rites, a living animal was slaughtered. It must have been a bloody affair, as far as I know never represented in Christian iconography.

I wrote: "In Spanish-speaking countries it was common to celebrate one's saint's day, not one's birthday" Ed replies: "This is Polish custom as well, although I can never remember my imienina and in our Americanized family we celebrated birthdays, forever scandalizing many of our relatives" RH: I am not scandalized, I am puzzled. Edward the Confessor, King of England (1002?-1066) was canonized in 1161. Thus Edward became a popular English, and hence American name. My guess is that in Poland it is an uncommon name. However, there is Eduard Benes, president of Czechoslovakia, so there may be a Saint Edward about whom I have no knowledge. After which St. Ed are you named, Ed?


Ed Jajko
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I said: "It would seem that when the Virgin Mary underwent her purification rites, a living animal was slaughtered. It must have been a bloody affair, as far as I know never represented in Christian iconography". Ed Jajko clarifies: "From the Douay-Rheims translation of Luke: "2:21 And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called JESUS, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb. 2:22 And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: 2:23 As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons: " The birds were bought at the Temple to be offered there, their throats slit, as burnt offerings". RH:It seems like male chauvinism and very unkind, especially as the dove is the symbol of the Holy Ghost. A dove is a small pigeon, but it sounds more poetic. What is there poetic about a stool pigeon? I must check that expression.

I wrote: "In Spanish-speaking countries it was common to celebrate one's saint's day, not one's birthday" Ed replies: "This is Polish custom as well, although I can never remember my imienina and in our Americanized family we celebrated birthdays, forever scandalizing many of our relatives" RH: I am not scandalized, I am puzzled. Edward the Confessor, King of England (1002?-1066) was canonized in 1161. Thus Edward became a popular English, and hence American name. My guess is that in Poland it is an uncommon name. After which St. Ed are you named, Ed?

Ed replies: "Probably Edward the Confessor, whose feast day on October 13 I will have to remember. Poles have had non-Slavic names for ages; one need only refer to Fryderyk Chopin and Ignacy Paderewski for relatively modern examples. The cosmopolitan nature of medieval European society must be kept in mind. Edward was king of England, but only after being exiled to Denmark, being rescued and sent to Sweden, and then sent to the King of Hungary to be educated. There were plenty of opportunities for the name Edward, in its earlier version, to rub off on the locals. Of course, I might just as well have been named after Edward the Martyr or any of a succession of unlucky Edwards who died in the attempt to undo the work of Henry VIII and Elizabeth II".

RH: Since you are named after Edward the Confessor, I assume you are prepared to listen to the confessions of WAISers who wish to unburden themselves.
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