Memorial Candle – The ritual of lighting a candle in remembrance

The ritual of lighting a candle to pay tribute to a life ‘passed’ has long been a part of our culture.  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 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 who 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.

How memorial candles can be personalized

Personalized Memorial Candles make superb, thoughtful memorial gifts that truly come from the heart.  There are various options for a memorial candle.  You can, of course, simply purchase a bespoke memorial candle from a retailer, or you could choose to make your own memorial candles.

Memorial Candles personalized with photos & tributes

Personalizing a candle with a special image of your loved one makes a Memorial Candle a unique remembrance tribute.  The warm glow behind the image of your loved one shows that their memory is still burning bright!   You can personalize a Memorial Photo Candle with a photo or artwork along with your personal text message for a wonderful keepsake.

Electric, solar, or battery-powered ‘flameless’ memorial candles

In addition to wax memorial candles, you can also purchase electric, battery-powered, or solar-powered Memorial candle votives.  These operate more as an everlasting memorial candle tribute.  Solar-powered memorial candle votives are often placed as memorial markers at a gravesite.

Virtual memorial candles

We have written quite extensively recently about how technology is reshaping the funeral industry, and it even reaches into the memorial candle market.  You can now opt to light a virtual candle online as a way to offer remembrance. 

Check out Grateful Living’s Light a Candle in Memory website, where you can light a virtual candle in remembrance. Or 247Candle offers a Virtual Memorial Remembrance Section.

Yahrzeit candles lit in memory

A Yahrzeit candle is lit in the Jewish faith on the anniversary of the death of a loved one each year.  A special Yahrzeit candle is lit that burns for 24 hours.  This ceremony is conducted on the anniversary of special family members each year to ensure that their memory is cherished.

Make your own memorial candle

Being that candles are so easy to purchase today, as are an array of different candle holders, you could choose to make your own memorial candle.  This would make it a unique memorial tribute in a totally personal way.  Many local stationers offer same-day printing or engraving, so you can even choose to have a candle holder personally printed or engraved or have a batch of labels made to decorate multiple candles to commemorate your loved one.

Candles are simple yet effective in symbolizing a memory.

You can also check out our detailed Guide to Creating Your Own Memorial Tributes.

Related Articles:

Creating your own memorial tributes
How to create an online memorial

Written by

Sara is the Editor in Chief for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death care industry in the US for the last 15 years.