Canary Islands were conquered and Christianized by Spain in the year 1496. Before this conquest, the apparition of Our Lady of Candelaria happened. According to this tradition, shepherds were pushing their cows to a cave for the night’s rest when one of them noticed that one of the cows did not want to enter the cave. Trying to know the reason why, one of the shepherds saw at the entrance of the cave an image of a woman which they thought was a real human being. But the image which was made of stone did not move and so one of the shepherds took a knife and attacked. But his arm which had the knife suddenly became paralyzed. The other attacked also, but ended up wounding himself. The shepherds were frightened and so fled the scene and went to report the incident to the chieftain.
The chieftain went to the scene and saw the image. With his counselors, he tried to move the image but could not. He decided then to ask the two wounded shepherds to move the image and carry it to his house. When the two touched the image, their wounds were at once cured. The chieftain understood that the image of the woman carrying a boy was supernatural, but he was not able to identify it with any of the pagan gods they were worshipping in Canary Islands.
Few months later, a boy named Antonio who was captured by the Spaniards and brought to Spain as a slave, was able to escaped and returned home. On visiting the house of the chieftain and seeing the image, he identified it as Mary the Mother of God. It was this discovery that enabled the Spaniards to pacify easily the warlike tribes of Canary Islands and converted them fast to Christianity.
Historians later would identify the image as that of Mary offering Jesus in the temple: the feast of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. The image made rounds in Spain during a plague and people attributed the saving of many lives through this virgin whom they welcomed with many candles, that became known as Virgen de Candelaria.
In the Philippines, the cult of the Devotion to Our Lady of Candles is most prominent in Iloilo where a stone statue of our Lady of Candles is venerated atop the canopy of the entrance of the Jaro Cathedral. Natives from the place claim that the stone statue had been growing through the years... and they prove this by showing old festive garments used to adorn the stone statue. These garments are now too small for the image of our Lady!