Día de la Candelaria is the official end of the Christmas season in Mexico. It’s time for the last of the Christmas decorations to be put away.
As with other Mexican holidays, this day is a blending of the traditional native culture and Catholicism. This day coincides with Candlemas and like Candlemas, candles are brought to the church to be blessed. The baby Jesus (known as the niño Dios) from the household Nativity scene is dressed up and taken to church to be blessed as well.
According to tradition, the person who found the child hidden in the Rosca de Reyes cake, is the host for the Día de la Candelaria celebration. Tamales and atole, both corn-based, are always served. Tamales are made with masa (dough made from corn flour), which is wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves then steamed or boiled. The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales are filled with various goodies including meats, cheeses, vegetables, and fruits. Atole is a masa-based hot corn based beverage.
Corn foods have pre-Hispanic roots. This day corresponds to the time on the Aztec calender when corn was blessed by the god Tlaloc. Some indigenous group still bring the corn to be blessed by the church.