Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Plans to Observe Candlemas with Art, Music, and a Poet-Tea (with FREE Printable Fine Art 10-Pack)

This year, Candlemas (also known as the Purification of the Blessed Mother and The Presentation of the Lord) falls on the same day as my children's regular AMP It Up club meeting.  Thus, I asked the other mamas in the club if we might depart from our regular Art, Music, and Poetry activities for the day in order to focus on the liturgical celebration.  They happily agreed,  thus, much like I did for a Poet-Tea for the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, I have been having fun planning our Candlemas Poet-Tea.

During AMP meetings, we typically:


  • recite and chat about poems,
  • read about a composer or par of the orchestra,
  • listen to some classical music,
  • complete a simple journal page,
  • take a movement break,
  • enjoy a brief picture study or look at an example of art from around the world,
  • and try our own hands at making art.

For liturgical year Poet-Teas, we change things up a little. 

A Candlemas Poet-Tea Setting and Menu

For Candlemas, a simple poet-tea table will be decorated with:
  • a white tablecloth (for purity)
  • a variety of candles (including a blue one for Mary)
  • an image of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple 

Symbolic drinks and foods will also be laid out as friends arrive.  They will likely include:

  • a pitcher of water (to represent the purification)
  • hot cinnamon-vanilla-coconut milk (white - to represent Joseph's pure protective love for Mary and Jesus, with specs of brown to remind us of sawdust since Joseph's career was carpentry)
  • GFCF pretzels (to represent Simeon's praying arms)
  • raspberries with swords in them (to remember the prophecy of the pierced heart)
  • strawberries and Cocowhip (to remind us of Mary's pure, sinless heart when she went to the temple for purification due to humble obedience)
  • peeled apple slices and chocolate fondue (to remind us of Anna the Prophetess with the "black" on the outside - symbolic of Anna's widowhood - and the white on the inside - symbolic of the purity and goodness of her devout heart, for she never left the floor of the Temple, day or night)
  • homemade blueberry vegan ice cream (brought by a friend for Our Lady)
  • vegan cupcakes decorated with swords or doves (brought by a friend to symbolize either Simeon's prophesy or the offering Joseph and Mary brought to the temple)
  • Paleo Crepes (brought by a friend because crepes are traditional on Candlemas and remind us of Jesus swaddled

(Great thanks to Alice at Cottage Blessings and Jessica at Shower of Roses for the ideas for many of these dishes!)

Presentation of the Lord Chat and Poet-Tea

Once all are gathered, we will likely commence our poet-tea b watching this brief dramatization of the Presentation of the Lord on YouTube:

Or, perhaps, this one:

Then, we will
pray grace together and chat about the symbolism of each item of food on the table.

As children eat, I will read a selection of Candlemas poetry as found at the International Marian Research Institute and , perhaps a Sonnet for Candlemas shared by Malcolm Guite. As I read, I will ask the children to listen for specific words and phrases that help them to see the images within the poems and we'll chat about how specific word choices can make or break a poem.

Art Appreciation, Prayer, and Poetry Writing


Once all the children are done eating and we
clear the table, I'll lay out a collection of 10 fine art images of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple,
and with these to help us mediate on the fourth Joyful Mystery, we may pray a decade of the rosary

Then, we will tie the idea of specific words making or breaking a poem, to specific details depicted by artists through the ages.  Examining the fine art images, we will
play Two-Finger Touch I Spy by having one child say, "I spy... (a detail in the image)" while the other children attempt to be the first to two-finger touch the image that matches the description.   Whoever is the first to touch the correct image  keeps it and gives a descriptor of another image

When all images are in hand, children will pair up so each pair has at least one image.  Then, pairs will be challenged to help one another create a stanza of poetry to go along with one of the images they hold.  Children will be asked to remember the importance of specific word choices and, when we share our poems with one another, will be encouraged to comment on vocabulary choices that help them see and feel.


Then, it will be time for the music portion of our gathering, which, I admit, almost had me stumped.  For, despite spending far too much time on Google and YouTube, I have been unable to discover a "perfect" (for us) piece of music to explore for our Candlemas Poet-TeaThus, I've decided to teach a music vocabulary word instead: canticle.

I intend to play one of the following two versions of the Canticle of Simeon and, then, to ask if anyone has ever heard the words in the song before and where?  Pending what the children respond with, responses, I will
explain that a canticle is a hymn, psalm or other song of praise taken from biblical or holy texts other than the Psalms.




I may also play the following video while the children do their artwork:

Art: Creating Specific Details

We will close our gathering with artwork before free play and conversation.Using a variety of art media and inspiration from the images we focused on while praying the Fourth Joyful Mystery and playing I Spy, the children (and mamas) will be invited to create their own depictions of a single detail from the scene of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple or of a symbol of the day, such as the flame of a candle, the hand of Simeon, the eyes of Mary, etc.  This exercise should tie in well with the specificity of detail that we will have talked about during our poetry portion of the Poet-tea.

{Disclosure: Some links which follow are affiliate onesShould you click through them to make a purchase, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  Earnings go right back into training happy hearts in our home and sharing about it with you here.}

Media we may use includes:

For Another Time
After the Poet-Tea, I hope to listen on my own or with my children to the short audio called the Sorrows and Wisdom of Mary at Ancient Faith Ministries and would love to find some Catholic audios and podcasts related to Candlemas, too.  (Please share links with me if you have any.)

I also intend to share the following video about the Presentation with my children either before or after our Poet-Tea so they can learn more about the significance of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple.

(I do not want to share it at the Poet-Tea for several reasons, among them, the bloody images at the beginning may disturb our more sensitive AMP members and spoil the tea.)On a more light-hearted note, I would guess that taking a babydoll and dramatizing the Presentation might unfold naturally with my children.  We shall see...

However our Candlemas Poet-Tea and post-tea unfold, I know we will be blessed.  I pray your Candlemas is filled with light, beauty, love, and blessings, too!


Enjoy glimpses into other Poet-Tea plans and photos.


I'd welcome YOUR ideas for celebrating Candlemas with a Poet-Tea or just in general.  Please do share your favorite recipes, poems, songs, artworks, crafts, talks, prayers, and devotions with me, so I might be inspired by them for inclusion in my family's future Candlemas observances.  Thank you!


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