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July 09, 2021 3 min read

Candles have been around for centuries. Today, the popular candles are the scented ones, but if you look back on their history, candles served as symbols in religion—even until today! In this post, we’ll dive deeper into their religious symbolism.

Christmas Candles

In some religions, candles are placed in an Advent wreath on a table during the first four weeks before Christmas. People can take the candle from the wreath to attend the mass.

There are also homes decorated with candles placed in front of windows during Christmas time. This is to welcome travelers who need shelter.

The Menorah of Hanukkah

The Menorah has seven candlesticks, specifically the Jewish cult candlestick necessary for Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights. The shape of the candle is similar to what a sage looks like, and every Jewish household has one of these candlesticks to practice the rites of Hanukkah.

The festival of lights lasts for eight days, and it is a commemoration of the restoration of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The candles are replaced every day, and they are lit every after sunset. It is important that the candles burn at least half an hour after the dark.

Buddhism

It might seem that Buddhists only use incense sticks, but they also have a candle on their altars. The candle is placed in the middle of the altar, and when it’s lit, it’s time to begin a prayer session or other rituals.

There is also a Lantern Festival in Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand, where Buddhists donate candles to the monks who dedicated their lives in the darkness of the monasteries.

Christianity

Being one of the most popular faiths today, a lighted candle in Christianity represents Christ and his eternal light. It is also used in any event within the church.

Judaism

In this religion, candles are used to set a quiet and calm atmosphere. Candles are used at any time of the year. It is also used on the Sabbath and in any religious event.

Hinduism

People who practice Hinduism celebrate Diwali, which is a five-day celebration of lights. The lights symbolize their wishes for the new year.

In homes, a Candelabrum, called Diyas, is lit and afloat a bowl of water.

Kwanzaa

Celebrated by African Americans, Kwanzaa is widely observed in the US. Candles are used here to fill a Kinara, which is their candelabrum, that can hold seven candles. There are specific candles on this—three red ones on the left, three green ones on the right, and a black one in the middle.

Paganism

Paganism is practiced all over the world, and candles are used to symbolize their religious holidays. Pagans also celebrate Christmas, and they use candles to pay tribute to the gods. They also use candles as a symbol for earth, air, wind, or fire.

Furthermore, candles are used in this religion mainly for meditations because they help set a calm atmosphere that promotes focus.

Conclusion

Candles are not only adornments, but they also serve as important symbols in many religions all over the world. Looking at their relevance in different religions, we can have a key takeaway: candles provide the serenity we all seek, whether you’re a believer or not.

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