christmas candles

The History of Christmas Candles

Christmas candle lighting is a custom in many cultures. The Christmas candle traditions have decreased some since the invention of electricity and Christmas tree lights; however, the tradition of the Christmas candle is still alive in many cultures.

Candles have been around for centuries and archaeological evidence indicates that they were common in Ancient Egypt. Over time candles have been used for light, for ceremonies, for their scents, and for decoration.

Origin of the Christmas candle

The first Christmas candle use can be traced to Germany. Along with originating the tradition of the Christmas tree, Germany is believed to have been the first country to place Christmas candles on the boughs of the tree.


One use of the Christmas candle is the celebration of Advent. Advent is a season for celebrating the birth of Christ.

It begins four Sundays before Christmas. An advent wreath consists of an evergreen wreath and four candles. Generally, the candles in the wreath are lit during a family moment of prayer or before a meal.

The first week of Advent only one Christmas candle is lit. The second week, two are lit. The third week, three and the fourth week all four candles are lit.

Other Christmas candle traditions

In Ireland, a Christmas candle is lit as a symbol relating to hospitality relating to the welcoming of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus. In Finland, it is a tradition of some families to place a candle on the grave of their loved ones during Christmas celebrations.

In Germany and France a Christmas candle (wax or electric) is usually placed in a window, or several Christmas candles may adorn the Christmas tree.

Fun Fact

Candles were used for light before the availability of electricity. In Europe, candle makers were called chandlers. Chandeliers originated in Italy.

From a Christian perspective, a Christmas candle signifies Jesus as being the light of the world. The Christmas candle is also said to represent victory of good over evil or light over darkness in many cultures.

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