|Man knows so much and does so little. - Inventor Buckminster Fuller|
Candle Traditions, Belief, Symbolism, etc.
Today candles are extremely popular. Seven out of ten households use candles. Although not required for lighting, we use candles for a variety of reasons including celebration, romance, decoration and fragrance. In addition many traditions and beliefs have candles as their basis.
“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” - Mother Theresa
MEASURING UP TO A SAINT
In medieval times, there was a curious practice of offering at a shrine a candle or a number of candles equaling the height of the person of whom a favor was asked.
This was called "Measuring to St. Whomever.” The practice can be traced back to the time of St. Radegund and later right through the Middle Ages. It was especially common in England and the North of France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
CANDLES AND AGE
A candle lighting ceremony is traditional to several age related celebrations:
Most of us have performed our first act of candle magic by the time we are two years old. Blowing out the candles on our first birthday cake and making a wish is pure magic. This childhood custom is based on the three magical principals of concentration, will power and visualization. In simple terms, the child who wants his wish to come true has to concentrate (blow out the candles), visualize the end result (make a wish) and hope that it will come true (will power).
CANDLES IN CULTURES
Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday. During this holiday, seven candles are lit which are symbols referencing the Nguzu Saba, the set of underlying values by which African people are urged to live in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs. There are three red candles to the right, three green candles to the left and one black candle in the center of the kinara. The colors are symbolic of black nationalism. Red represents the blood of the African people. Green represents the hope of new life and for the motherland, Africa. Black represents the face of the African people.
CANDLES IN WEDDINGS
The wedding candle or wedding unity candle set includes a pillar candle with two taper candles. Just before the wedding ceremony, the bride's mother lights a taper candle along with the groom's mother. After the couple has exchanged vows, the bride picks up the taper candle her mother lit and the groom picks up the taper candle his mother lit. Together they light the pillar candle to signify their union.
CANDLES AND WINTER SOLSTICE
Some people in the northern hemisphere celebrate the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. This is a celebration of the lengthening of days after Winter Solstice. Many people dread the cold, dark days of winter. So when the sun begins to change its course and grows in strength again, they rejoice. They honor the new solar year by meditating in darkness and then welcoming the birth of the sun by lighting candles and singing. Togetherness, love, family and remembering the past year's accomplishments are included.
Uses for Candles
Candle Usage Tips
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