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The Candlestick Corner BLOG

...from candle-lit dinners to candle safety-first. A blog by Claire - Unique Candleholders

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What is a Votive Candle or Candle Holder?

Posting date: 22nd May 2007 22:11

Nowadays, I would say that the word "votive candle" or "votive candleholder" often just means a small candle holder often for tea lights and usually for small white candles. Such candleholders are often made of glass.

However, the traditional meaning is religious. The small, white candle was burnt as a votive offering in a religious ceremony. The typical size of candle was about 2 inches high by 1.5 inches diameter.

In the Roman Catholic Church, such candles are often still placed before a statue of the Virgin Mary. Traditionally this will be before a side altar. The candles used do vary from long, taper-type candles to tea-light. You can find special candleholders, often in wrought iron, on which to stick your taper candle or place your tea-light.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, candles are lit before icons, usually of Jesus Christ or the Holy Theotokos. Usually Orthodox churches only use long, thin candles. which are placed in round containers, having either various sockets to hold the candles, or in a container filled with sand, in which the worshippers place their candles. Orthodox churches will usually have a separate place to put candles lit for those who have died whereas the Roman Catholic churches make no such distinction.

Some Anglican churches, generally High Anglican churches also have votive candles.

Candles are lit for prayer intentions. To 'light a candle for someone' means that you will say a prayer for them, and the candle symbolises your prayers. It is generally considered generous to make a donation for candles, to help with the cost. Beside the candle box there will generally be a donation box. Some churches will actually put a price on each candle.

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