According to Jewish customs, women were considered "unclean" after the birth of a child. The unclean period lasted 40 days after the birth of a son, and 60 days after the birth of a daughter. During this period, they were not allowed into the temple to worship. At the end of this time, the woman was brought to the temple and "purified" in a ceremony. After the birth of Christ, the Virgin Mary was purified on Candlemas or the Feast of Purification.

On Candlemas, candles used during the year are blessed. In christian churches, candles represent Jesus Christ as the light, the truth and the way.