ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Paschal Candles

Updated on March 18, 2012
Paschal candles are lit at the Easter Vigil, on the evening before Easter, in the Lutheran, Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches.
Paschal candles are lit at the Easter Vigil, on the evening before Easter, in the Lutheran, Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. | Source

By Joan Whetzel

In Anglican, Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches, the pastor or priest lights a Paschal candle during the Easter vigil. The lighting of the Paschal candle represents the church moving out of the darkness of sin and into Christ’s light. The flame’s warmth symbolizes the warmth of Christ’s love. While these are the 2 main symbols of the Paschal Candles, they are, by no means, the candle’s only symbols.

The History of the Paschal Candle

It was once considered sacrilege to light candles in a church during the day. But that all changed when, as St. Jerome pointed out, candles were always lit during the reading of the Gospels, and that the lighting of candles wasn’t meant to keep out the darkness so much as it was to light up the church with joy – especially when candles were lit during baptisms held during the Easter vigils.

The Basic Features of Church Candles

Candles used for liturgical purposes are made from beeswax, which symbolizes the supposed virginity associated of bees, which is representative of the Virgin Mary giving birth to Christ. The wick symbolizes the soul of Christ, and flam represents his Divinity, or his “True Light.” Liturgical candles are always white as a symbol of Christ’s purity, though gold and colored paint may be added to create the markings on the candle.

Bringing the New Paschal Candle into the Church

Depending on the church, the congregation will either wait in the darkened church for the Paschal candle's arrival, or will follow the lit Pascal candle into the darkened church. In some churches small tapers are distributed to parishioners to be lit by the Paschal candle as it passes. The Paschal candle is customarily placed in a prominent place during the Easter season

The Paschal Candle and the Easter Vigil

Easter Vigil services are held on Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when Christians wait and watch for Christ's return at midnight. The Paschal candle is lit outside the church by a charcoal brazier. Once inside the church it remains lit for the entire Easter season. The Anglican and Lutheran churches leave the candle lit from Easter until the day marking the Ascension 40 days later. In the Roman Catholic tradition, it remains lit for 50 days, until Pentecost.

Markings on the Paschal Candle

The Paschal candle's main marking is the cross representing the cross of Christ's crucifixion. The Greek letters---alpha and omega---are painted on either side of the cross, signifying Christ as being the "Alpha and the Omega,” the One “who is and who was and who is to come" (Revelation 1:8). Five nails with small pieces of incense are placed on the cross; one into the center of the cross and four into the four ends of the cross to embody Christ's hand, feet and side wounds. The year that the Candle is being burned is also painted on the Paschal Candle.

References

New Advent. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. Downloaded 3/18/2012. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03246a.htm

The Order of St. Vincent.Ask Father Figpenny Your Questions. Downloaded 3/18/2012. http://www.orderstvincent.org/faq.html

Anglican Church. This is Church. Downloaded 3/18/2012. http://www.thisischurch.com/christian_teaching/paschalcandle.htm

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Meaning of the Paschal Candle. Downloaded 3/18/2012.

http://www.candlecarving.info/Meaning.php

Olson, Carl E. St. Ignatius Insight. The Easter Triduum: Entering into the Paschal Mystery. Downloaded 3/18/2012.

http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/colson_triduum_apr06.asp

St. Anne's Parish. Our Church---The Paschal Candle. Downloaded 3/18/2012.

http://www.saintannes.net/?p=837

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)