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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Candles in Different Lands

Candle Photo By By Elmar Ersch (Own work)
 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This year for Christmas in Different Lands each post is exploring some aspect of Christmas in at least three different continents. Today we are looking at candles. How do you use candles at Christmas time? With electricity there are not as many uses as there once was but some are still used for special events. In New England often there are single candles (and for some multiple candles) in the windows of a house or church. I shared a bit about Christmas in New England last year.

Picture of New England Church during Advent
 Candles are also used in many other ways. Often there is a candlelight service on Christmas Eve at church as well as the Advent wreath candles during Advent. I shared a bit about our Advent wreath a couple of years ago. Many countries especially in Europe use Advent wreaths and/or Advent candles. Countries like Germany, Austria, Croatia, and Belgium often have Advent wreaths as well as the United States. 

AdventCandles
Advent Wreath By Jonathunder (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
In Denmark there are special calendar candles called Kalenderlys. These candles are burned a certain amount each day to count down to Christmas. 
Advent candle
Kalenderlys By Zoizit (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Another type of Advent candle is the Christingle. The Christingle was first used in a Moravin Church in Germany in 1747. The minister gave the children a lighted candle with a red ribbon tied around it representing Jesus as the light of the world. It has since changed to include an orange as the representation of the world. Fruits and nuts are skewered and stuck into the orange to represent the nourishment we get from the Earth, sun and rain. These are now used in many Moravin Churches around the world on Christmas Eve. (Source)
Christingle
Christingle By Timmywimmy at English Wikipedia 
(Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
 The other main use for candles in Europe is on Christmas trees. Now often electric candles are used instead of real ones, but there are still some who use real ones in Switzerland and Austria.
Candle on Christmas tree 8
Candle on Tree By Gerbil (Own work) 
[GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
 There are many places that have candlelight church services on Christmas Eve. The United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Ethiopia have candlelight services. In Ethiopia it is actually a Christmas dawn service and the people dress in white and are given a candle before entering the church. The choir sings in an outer circle and everyone going to the service walks around the church three times then they stand in the second circle for the entire service. The males are separated from the females. (Source) In each state capital of Australia, there are candlelight carol services with well known Australian singers often helping with the carols. Some are televised as well. (Source)
German Candle Arch from Ore Mountains
Schwibbogen By Klaaschwotzer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
In Germany there are also schwibbogen or decorative candle holders from the region of Saxony, Germany.  The size and number of candles varies. (Source) There are also Christmas Pyramids or Weihnachtspyramide in Germany. They are more like a carousel that is powered by the heat of the candles. (Source) We have friends who have a beautiful one with many tiers.
Historische Weihnachtspyramiden
Christmas Pyramids in Germany By Lamm1970 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In the Philippines they have Christmas parols or star shaped lanterns to light the way to church or town. 
Trio of traditional parols
Traditional Parols By Eugene Alvin Villar (seav) 
(Self-photographed) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
We found a tutorial to make a simplified (and non-lite) parol in All About the Philippines by Gidget Roceles Jimenez and illustrated by Corazon Dandan-Albano. (Tuttle Publishing sent us this book to review which we will be doing very soon!) We made a parol out of straws, ribbon, streamers, staples and glue.

More modern parols are now electric and very colorful.
Parols For Sale
Parols for Sale By Keith Bacongco (Lanterns anyone?) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  
In Mexico the children are given candles to parade in the streets during the Posadas. The children parade with a statue or people representing Mary and Joseph searching for a room at the inn. They knock on several doors seeing if there is room and there is not until they come to the appointed house for the night.
Posadas en Tequixquiac (4)
Posadas Procession By Marrovi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In Finland there are often lanterns hung from the trees of cemeteries since people often like to visit the graves of loved ones and leave the lights there. They also make ice lanterns to light the way due to the early darkness in some parts. 
Ice lantern Jäälyhty HP4946C
Ice Lantern in Finland By Anneli Salo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In  parts of Norway it is tradition to light a candle every from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day. In Iceland children often receive candles as presents. In Lithuania some people light a candle at their dinner table Christmas Eve in remembrance for a person who has passed away. In Sweden girls wear a crown of candles for St. Lucia's Day celebrations (December 13th). In India oil lamps are placed in windows by some Christians. 
St. Lucia's Day celebration in the church of Borgholm, Sweden
St. Lucia's Day in Sweden By Stefan Källroos (Own work) 
[CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
In the Southwest of the United States and  other countries (especially in Central and South America) it is common to use luminaries or farolitos to light the path or buildings. Often they are paper sacks filled with sand and a candle. 
Farolitos, old church, Jemez State Monument
Farolitos, old mission church, Jemez State Monument, New Mexico By Larry Lamsa 
(Farolitos, Jemez SpringsUploaded by PDTillman) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
This post is part of Multicultural Kid Blogs' Christmas in Different Lands Blog Series. Be sure to check out the other posts in this fun series!