Forty days after the birth of Christ, Our Lady followed Mosaic law and presented Him in the temple, along with a sacrifice of two turtle doves or young pigeons.
Around the 11th century, the custom of blessing candles came into practice. Catholic Encyclopedia describes it this way:
According to the Roman Missal the celebrant after Terce, in stole and cope of purple colour, standing at the epistle side of the altar, blesses the candles (which must be of beeswax). Having sung or recited the five orations prescribed, he sprinkles and incenses the candles. Then he distributes them to the clergy and laity, whilst the choir sings the canticle of Simeon, "Nunc dimittis". The solemn procession represents the entry of Christ, who is the Light of the World, into the Temple of Jerusalem.
- Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
- Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
- Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
- Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.
Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
- your word has been fulfilled.
- My own eyes have seen the salvation
- which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
- A light to reveal you to the nations
- and the glory of your people Israel.