Liturgical candles - the importance of church candles
They are burned on the altar, sometimes at the entrance to the church, and sometimes they are also held in the hands. Liturgical candles are a very important part of the life of the Catholic community. However, does every believer know the significance of their different types?
Do you know when Paschal candles are lit and when a thimble is lit? Paschal candles are lit on Easter, symbolizing the resurrection of Christ. These candles are a very important part of the liturgy and are often more widely used in local churches as a sign of joy and hope. The thunderbolts, on the other hand, which are lit on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, symbolize purification and spiritual renewal. It also serves as a reminder of God's mercy toward sinners. Since both types of candles have deep symbolic meanings, their ceremonial lighting adds beauty and solemnity to religious ceremonies.
In addition to their symbolic meaning, liturgical candles are also used as a symbol of hope. The faithful often submit their prayers and intentions to God during the lighting of the candles, in the hope that their requests will be fulfilled. For Christians, it is traditionally believed that these simple gestures reflect a person's nobility and dignity, as well as their deep desires for devotion to God.
Finally, it is also worth mentioning that the use of liturgical candles has such far-reaching significance that churches have made them a mandatory part of ceremonies. Candles are sometimes used as a symbol of purity and innocence in a baptism or confirmation ceremony. They also have an important influence on liturgical services and Easter celebrations, which include processions with decorated candles. The solemn Paschal procession, during which children carry candles after a representation of the Resurrection of Christ, is one of the most famous examples of their use.
Even if the use of candles themselves is so simple, their meaning in the Church is profound. First of all, they are a symbol of Christ - the Lord of Light. When people attend services and processions with candles, their presence reminds them of this miraculous fact, and also symbolizes their devotion to God. Liturgical candles are also considered a symbol of peace and hope for the planet and the entire human race. As a symbol of God on Earth, they can also inspire prayer and reflection about ourselves.
What are altar candles?
Altar candles are one of the many elements that are used during the liturgy of the Mass. These candles serve as a symbol of God's presence in the church and home. Altar candles are also meant to symbolize the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the congregation of those praying. Each candle has a color that represents some important liturgical occasion, such as Holy Week, Christmas or Pentecost. Their very presence can be an atmospheric way to express our faith and worship God during Mass. Altar candles are often used to mark important liturgical moments or occasions. There are usually nine of them, all together forming a symbol of the five mysteries of our faith: Christ's Resurrection, the Holy Coming, the Paschal Offering, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Assumption. Each of these candles has its own meaning and is present on the altar during Mass.
It is also worth noting that there must be a predetermined number of candles on the altar. Altar candles are a symbol of Christ, who is the light, and also symbolize the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Their presence also indicates that the Mass always takes place with sufficient light. The very name "altar" indicates their use to decorate the altar and emphasize its importance. Usually composed of beeswax or paraffin, they are also sometimes decorated with special ornaments or containing religious inscriptions. They also come in a variety of colors, from white to black. They are used in various religions to decorate an altar or to celebrate an important occasion. Altar candles also have a symbolic meaning and can be used as a symbol for a church ritual or ceremony. They are also believed to invoke the presence of the Lord God, and the noble purpose of placing them on the altar is to indicate His timelessness. The very act of standing before them is an actualization of this symbolic meaning and affirms our devotion to God.
"The General Introduction to the Roman Missal" specifies it as follows:
"At least two candlesticks with lighted candles are placed on or beside the altar for each celebration; there may be more: four or six, especially on a Sunday or obligatory feast, or, when the diocesan bishop celebrates, seven." - OWMR 117
A separate issue is how the candles are made. This is not defined by the rite in any way. An altar candle can be made of wax, but increasingly takes the form of a container with a replaceable oil cartridge.
Paschal candles - what are they used for?
Some liturgical candles burn during services throughout the year. Others appear only at certain times that are particularly important to Christians. The Paschal candle can be used as an example. It is lit in church before Easter. This candle is very distinctive - not only thick, but also richly decorated. However, it should be mentioned that the patterns covering it are by no means random. They mark the wounds of Christ, the first year of the lighting of the paschal, and the beginning and end (alpha and omega). The candle is meant to symbolize Christ - His death and resurrection. Its symbolic meaning is expressed in the words: "Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat" (Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules). The candle is also an important part of the Easter liturgy. It symbolizes the light of new life that the Risen Christ gives us. It is a very beautiful way to celebrate this special day.
Are you looking for a candlemas candle? Here you will find a large selection of candlemas candles
The candlemas candle can be confusing to many people unfamiliar with the liturgy. This is because at first glance it resembles a paschal (color and thickness). However, this candle has a completely different use. It is used during very important sacraments for Catholics. It is lit during baptism, funerals and vigils at the body of the deceased. It may be surprising where its name comes from. Well, this church candle is also part of a folk tradition associated with the feast of Our Lady of Thunder. The faithful would light it in the window to protect their household from being struck by lightning.