Worldwide Candle Lighting Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Worldwide Candle Lighting Day is annually celebrated on every second Sunday of December which means this year it falls on 11th December. This day encourages people to light candles in memory of the children who have passed on. 

For hundreds of years, lighting a candle has been a way to show respect for those that have died. This beautiful gesture shows that although someone may be gone from this world, their memory will endure, and the light of their flame will continue to inspire and guide others. 

Worldwide Candle Lighting Day is a celebration of solidarity and memory. It’s a day on which people around the world gather to light candles for children who have died and to show that they will always be loved and never forgotten.  

Event Worldwide Candle Lighting Day
Date December 11, 2022
Day Sunday
Significance The day encourages people to light candles in memory of the children who have passed on
Observed by World wide

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Worldwide Candle Lighting Day History: 

The ritual of lighting a candle to pay tribute to a life ‘passed’ has long been a part of many cultures around our world but especially of western culture. The tradition of keeping a light burning in remembrance signifies that the memory still lives on and burns bright. It is a ritual that promotes reflection and signifies remembrance. It can be all traced back to ancient pagan rites and the beginning of Christianity, as we know it.  Light is considered pure, it dispels darkness, nourishes life, and illuminates everything. As such light became a befitting symbol for God, the ‘Blessed Savior’, as referred to in the bible as “the light of the world” [John 8:12].  

In addition, wax has its own symbolic meaning, the wax being spotless, is supposed to represent Christ’s spotless body, with the wick within it representing his soul and the glowing flame representing the Divine Nature united with the human in one Divine Person. Thus candles have long been used in church and are established within our culture as a symbolic way to remember those passed. A memorial candle can be a great way to celebrate the life of a lost loved one, and bring joy and comfort to family and loved ones, by enabling the ritual of remembrance to be perpetuated and a candle lit each day to ease the pain of loss. 

In May of 1968 the Reverend Simon Stephens, a chaplain at the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital in England, recognized a unique opportunity to bring two sets of grieving parents together whose sons each lay dying in the same hospital. Reverend Stephens hoped that the parents, Joe and Iris Lawley, whose son Kenneth was killed in a traffic accident, and Bill and Joan Henderson, whose son Billy died from cancer, might find solace and comfort by sharing their stories and grieving for and with each other. The comfort and support that the Lawleys and Hendersons experienced by sharing the common grief of losing a son was a healing balm they wanted to share with other parents mourning the loss of a child. 

Reverend Stephens facilitated their meeting with other bereaved parents whom he had consoled at the hospital, and in January 1969, The Compassionate Friends organization was formed. Then the Compassionate Friend’s Worldwide Candle Lighting Day started as a gift to community in the United States in 1997 as a small internet observance in honor of children who lived tragically short lives for any number of reasons, from sickness to accidents, to war, but has since spread throughout the world. Today, hundreds of Worldwide Candle Lighting Day gatherings are supported by local churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, schools, cemeteries, memorial gardens, and community centers.  

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Worldwide Candle Lighting Day Significance: 

Worldwide Candle Lighting Day is a day where friends and family come together to mourn the loss and remember children who have left this world too soon. There is no greater loss than that of a child, and this day brings together everyone who has experienced the heartbreak of losing a child. It is a day of understanding, support, and friendship. While it may be a sad day, it is also a day of hope, helping people to realize that there is still life after losing a child too soon. Overall it said that the pain becomes lesser painful after sharing our griefs with others. Hence this day asks parents who have lost their children to share their pain with others as well.  

As the name of the day indicates, everyone on this day comes together to light a candle. They do this because it is a symbol of life lost. Everyone lights their candles at 7.00 pm in their local time zone. This results in a beautiful wave of light, traveling around the globe from time zone to time zone. It is believed that this is the biggest mass candle lighting in the world. It had humble beginnings, starting as a very small observance, but now there are hundreds and hundreds of formal lighting events that take place, as well as thousands of informal ones. Hence it is a veey important day for the parents who lost their child.  

Death is the part of the life cycle that makes many adults uncomfortable but unfortunately this is a reality of our world as many children die annually at a very young age. The lack of open dialog about end of life often makes it difficult for us to know how to respond when someone we know experiences the death of a young family member. Worldwide Candle Lighting Day can be a conversation starter on this sensitive, often confusing and difficult subject matter, making it easier to lend support to those experiencing this heartbreak. As the best way to cope with pain and suffering is to release it at once. 

Only the parent who has lost a child can comprehend and identify with the pain of another parent’s loss. Bringing grieving parents, grandparents, and siblings together for mutual support and comfort is a priceless gift that cannot be duplicated in other ways. Worldwide Candle Lighting Day provides an opportunity which helps to light the way for healing by bringing those who grieve alone together with others on a similar journey. Just knowing someone else understands your heartache brings comfort and peace to a hurting heart. Hence people are advised to share their grief with each other for the day especially with the ones who shared similar grief.  

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Worldwide Candle Lighting Day Celebrations: 

As mentioned before, this day is celebrated with a quiet elegance: at 7 p.m. local time, people light candles for one hour to remember their loved ones. It is a moving occasion that bypasses geographical and cultural divides. As everyone lights their candles at seven pm local time, far-flung parts of the world get illuminated in turn, so that eventually the light has moved all around the globe. 

If you have experienced the loss of a child in your lifetime, this is a good moment to honor his or her memory by taking part in the candle lighting. You could also invite some close family members to spend this time with you and light their own candles for the late child. This doesn’t only have to be a sad occasion, however. Children’s lives are mostly filled with fun and laughter, so reminiscing about all of the things the child you are honoring managed to enjoy before he or she passed may serve to lighten the atmosphere up a little bit.

If you want to participate in any such events then you can take a look online to see if there are any events that are going on in your local area. If there are, this is something that you should be able to find online with ease. Simply do a quick search for events happening in your local area. Or if any of your relatives or friends have suffered a loss of a child then you can use this opportunity to visit them and share their grief. Also try to make more and more aware about this day as well. 

Most Searched FAQs on Worldwide Candle Lighting Day: 

1. When is Worldwide Candle Lighting Day celebrated? 

Worldwide Candle Lighting Day is annually celebrated on every second Sunday of December. 

2. Who started Worldwide Candle Lighting Day? 

Worldwide Candle Lighting Day was started by The Compassionate Friends organization in 1997.  

3. What do you say at a candle lighting ceremony? 

People: We light a candle to honor our grief and give thanks for the lives of our loved ones. May this light guide us forward toward healing and peace. 

Leader: We acknowledge the power in this holy act of remembrance and honor the ones we have lost by sharing their light, as well as our own, with others and the world.

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