A flame in darkness – a brief history of candle symbolism

27 September 22
luxury candles

Flickering flames, melting wax, and gentle fragrances: luxury scented candles are one of the most comforting pieces of home decor you can find. But these pillars of scent are more than just accessories for our living rooms. Throughout the centuries, candles have been held up as significant symbols, being coveted as religious or spiritual items by millions. Intrigued? Stick with us as we delve deep into their history, and explore the relationship between humans and candles to catch a glimpse of what they really mean.

Candles and religion

Candles have been an integral part of many religions and faiths throughout history. Many believe that lighting candles can connect them to the divine, bringing them closer to their God/s and strengthening their belief. A Christian academic in the 2nd century described candles as a representation of “Christ, the Uncreated, and Eternal Light”. In Judaism, they’re used as symbols of rest and peace around religious festivals, and in Buddhism they’re used to show respect and signify change.

Candles to show welcome

Long ago, candles were used as a sign of welcome to travellers. Homeowners would place a candle in their window to symbolise that they were happy to greet and host travellers, or accept guests of any kind. In sparse lands where houses were few and far between, a candle in the window was a welcoming sight. That same association with warmth and friendship has remained intricately tied to candles today. (Although if you’re travelling for long distances, to be honest it’s easier just to use AirBnb nowadays.)

Candles for the dead

Candles have long been used when a loved one dies, symbolising hope, love, and faith. They’re lit to remember those that are gone and as part of funeral rites. In the Pagan community, candles are prominent when people are grieving, helping them to reflect on the life of those who’ve passed, and harness natural energy for healing.

Unity candles for weddings

Some couples may choose to carry out a unity candle ceremony at their wedding. Wholesome and traditional, the unity candle is made up of three separate candles, with the largest placed in the middle. The two smaller candles represent the joining families, and the bride and groom will each take one and use it to light the large candle together. It’s a ceremony that celebrates the joining of two families and signifies the start of a new life together.

This is just a brief look at the vast symbolism of candles, but if you adore candles as deeply as we do, we hope you enjoyed reading about the deep significance of burning a wick. Perhaps you’re even inspired to buy a few new scents for your home! If you are, you’re in the right place.

You can take a peek at our range of luxury scented candles online – including longtime customer favourites like Angel and Blush – or come down to our Shop On The Farm to smell the gorgeous scents in person. We look forward to seeing you!

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