What Is the Significance of Lighting a Candle?

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Lighting a candle is a long-held practice in many cultural, family and faith traditions. The practice is common across international borders and societies. Lighting candles can bring serenity, focus and comfort to participants.

1 Meditative Thought

When a person wishes to meditate on a thought or idea but lacks the ability to form the appropriate words to express herself, lighting a candle is a traditional way to show the intensity of her thoughts and feelings.

2 Expression of Support

Groups of people have taken up the practice of lighting candles to show support for many causes. The practice, when done by large numbers of people, helps build a sense of solidarity for the movement, as well as raise awareness regarding the cause.

3 Memorials

Lighting a candle in memory of a lost loved one is a centuries-old practice. The practice gives the candle lighter a specific time to reflect on the deceased, as well as to pray or meditate on their relationship with the loved one.

4 Prayers

In many Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant, lighting a candle while praying is a common practice. When submitted publicly, individuals can pray for others' concerns as well as their own.

5 Virtual Candle Lighting

With the advent of the Internet, candle lighting has spread to online groups. A person can light a virtual candle at many online sites, sharing their thoughts or concerns to a broad audience.

Susan Presley has worked in health care journalism since 2007, and has been published in the American Journal of Nursing and other academic periodicals. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Truman State University and a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.