Luke tells us, quoting 13:2,12, that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem because every firstborn child was to be dedicated to the Lord. They also went to sacrifice a pair of doves or two young pigeons, showing that Mary and Joseph were poor. Once in the temple, Jesus was purified by the prayer of Simeon, in the presence of Anna the prophetess.
Simeon, upon seeing the Messiah, gave thanks to the Lord, singing a hymn now called the Nunc Dimittis:
Lord, now 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.
("a light to the revelation of the Gentiles"), By the 11th century, the custom had developed in the West of blessing candles on the Feast of the Presentation. The candles were then lit, and a procession took place through the darkened church while the Canticle of Simeon was sung. Because of this, the feast also became known as Candlemas. Candlemas is still an important feast in many European countries.
Today, the feast is still celebrated on February 14th in some Eastern Churches, including the Armenian Church, where the feast is called, "The Coming of the Son of God into the Temple." Most churches in the West celebrate it on February 2nd.
1st Painting: Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Presentation in the Temple, 1342,
2nd painting: Presentation at the Temple by Giovanni Bellini - 1460-64