The celebration of Candlemas originated in the late fifth
century as a tribute to the light of God's glory that was manifested in
Christ Jesus. The earliest known observance within the Church was in the
year AD 496, during the time of Pope Gelasius.
The name was derived from the Gospel of Luke 2:22-40, wherein Simeon the priest and Anna the prophetess met the infant Jesus in the temple at the time of his consecration. Simeon's prophecy declared Jesus to be the Lord's salvation and "a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
During Candelaria, candles are blessed, lit, and borne in a procession in celebration to Jesus being the light of the world. The candles are generally considered to represent the inner light of Christ, which he brought to share with the world.