The feast is associated with an event recounted not in the New Testament, but in the apocryphal Infancy Narrative of James. According to that text, Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne, who had been childless, received a heavenly message that they would bear a child. In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter, they brought her, when still a child, to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God. Mary remained in the Temple until puberty, at which point she was assigned to Joseph as guardian. Later versions of the story (such as the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary) tell us that Mary was taken to the Temple at around the age of three in fulfillment of a vow. Tradition held that she was to remain there to be educated in preparation for her role as Mother of God.
The feast originated as a result of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary the New, built in the year 543 by the Byzantines under Emperor Justinian I near the site of the ruined Temple in Jerusalem. Although this basilica was destroyed by the Sassanid Persians under Khosrau II after the Siege of Jerusalem (614), the feast continued to be celebrated throughout the East. The feast was celebrated in the monasteries of Southern Italy by the ninth century and was later introduced into the Papal Chapel in Avignon in the year 1372 by a decree of Pope Gregory XI. It was included in the Roman Missal in 1472. But, as the fact of the "Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary" is only a pious belief, but not a defined matter of faith, it was suppressed by Pope Pius V in 1568. As a result, it did not appear in the Tridentine Calendar. Pope Sixtus V reintroduced it into the Roman Calendar in 1585. Pope Clement VIII made this feast a Greater Double in 1597. The feast also continued as a memorial in the Roman Calendar of 1969.
Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates it as one of its twelve Great Feasts, with the first documented celebration of the feast in any calendar being the mention of the Εἴσοδος τῆς Παναγίας Θεοτόκου (Entry of the All-Holy Theotokos - i.e. into the Temple) in the 11th-century Menology of the Eastern Roman (also known as Byzantine) emperor Basil II.
For the Roman Catholic Church, on the day of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "we celebrate that dedication of herself which Mary made to God from her very childhood under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who filled her with grace at her Immaculate Conception."
November 21 is also a "Pro Orantibus" Day, a day of prayer for cloistered religious "totally dedicated to God in prayer, silence and concealment."
Eternal Father, we honor the holiness and glory of the Virgin Mary. May her prayers bring us the fullness of your life and love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.