As the days get shorter, and the nights colder, it is becoming increasingly clear that winter is near. Historically, this means the time of rejoicing for many religions is also close at hand. From the Pagan Winter Solstice, to the Jewish Festival of lights that is Hanukkah, to the birthday celebration of the Christian Savior at Christmas, the holy days are at time of joy, celebration, and ritual. In every religion, culture and tradition, the lighting of candles has been used to aid in atmosphere, cleanse the spirit, and enhance that ritual that is so sacred to us all.
Obviously, the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah is the most famous in its uses of candles in religious ritual. On the evening of eight consecutive days during this festival, a candle is lit on the menorah to commemorate consecration of a new altar in the Temple of Jerusalem after the freedom conquered from the Hellenic invaders. In addition to prayer and communal meal shared with loved ones, the lighting of the candles is a symbol of a time of hope, a chance to reflect on the sad times gone by, but look forward to the future while embracing those events that make up our history.
Similarly, and not coincidentally, the Christians also light candles during the days preceding Christmas-the Advent. A traditional Advent wreath is composed of a wreath of evergreen branches intertwined with each other, holding up four candles. A candle is lit every Sunday of Advent, and a fifth is lit at Christmas. The crowns are kept in the house and usually the task of lighting the candles is given to the youngest of the family. Each of the candles has a name and purpose according to Christian tradition involving the preparation and arrival of Jesus as the “coming of the light”, as is repeatedly iterated throughout the Christian bible. In most Christian scenarios, the lighting of the candles is symbolic of the light of God and the illumination that allows the candle lighters to appreciate creation.
The pagan celebrations of Winter Solstice predate all the contemporary holy days, and many of those older traditions have been adapted with good reason, candles not-withstanding. The lighting of the candle innately reminds us of the beginning of something- a season, a year, a life. The extinguishing of that flame implies the end of those things in the natural order. The winter is the end of the cycle of seasons, during which time we rest and enjoy the fruits of the harvest, but with the end of the winter there is hope for the spring, when the cycle of life begins anew.
Casting aside all symbolism, the lighting and enjoyment of candles can be considered a practical and respectful practice to begin during times of faith and prayer, where electric lighting can be glaring and intrusive. The flicker of the flames lends a solemnity to the occasion, while simultaneously invoking an intimacy even when experienced in a house of worship filled with relative strangers.
Using one of our candles during your celebrations, or at your table, or even to decorate your windows at night follows in those time-honored traditions of our forefathers while also upholding the highest standards in craftsmanship, ethics, and health preservation. Even our scented candles are designed to enhance your senses rather than overwhelm the room with any artificial fragrances created by modern chemistry. Whether you choose our candles to be included in your holiday rituals or simply as a lovely way to illuminate your space while spending time with friends and family, we can assure you that Sanari is committed to making everyone’s holiday season a little bit brighter.