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Worldwide Candlelight Cermony

December 10, 2011
By GLYNIS VALENTI - Staff Writer ( , Times Leader

One flame in the darkness. The image is universal, spanning across religions, cultures and millennia. Since their inception probably around 5000 years ago, candles have given people light, warmth and hope.

Evidence shows Egyptians of 3000 BC were using candles, but it was the Romans before them who began crafting candles by rolling papyrus and dipping it into tallow or beeswax. China, Japan and India developed their own versions, and candle making was recognized as a guild craft in Europe by the 1200's. Stearin wax and paraffin were both developed in the 1800's, as was a machine that could mass produce candles. Though production declined after the invention of the light bulb, it increased as the 20th century progressed, and crafters and researchers continue to introduce new types of candles today.

The candle's symbolism, however, has never really changed. The word "candle" is derived from Latin "cand" plus "ela" and means "to shine." The flame provides light and warmth in darkness. It has been used to represent God, divinity and Jesus Christ. Fire is hypnotic and meditative. Fire is cleansing.

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The word “candle” is derived from Latin “cand” plus “ela” and means “to shine.” The flame provides light and warmth in darkness. It has been used to represent God, divinity and Jesus Christ

Candles are used in both religious and social rituals, on altars and birthday cakes, in marriage ceremonies for unity and vigils for remembrance. Simultaneously solemn and hopeful, candles emit power and expression without a sound.

It is in this spirit that a group in Barnesville will be participating in the Compassionate Friends annual "Worldwide Candle Lighting" event on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the former Barnesville Grange, 980 Shamrock Dr. For 40 years Compassionate Friends ( has provided support and information to those who have experienced the death of a child, by any cause.

Kristal Hunkler, who lost her son three years ago, is organizing this local gathering. "Last year I wasn't up to it, but I wanted to do it this year. I wanted to do something." She says so far about 50 people will be attending, and everyone is invited to remember or show support for a lost loved one. For more information, Hunkler's email address is or phone number is (740) 238-0242.

In 1997 the "Worldwide Candle Lighting" began in the United States via the internet as a way to honor and remember children in a positive way during this difficult time of year. In 2010, 530 services in the United States and 15 other countries registered on the Compassionate Friends website. The website explains that as individuals and groups on every continent light candles at 7 p.m. their local time and keep them burning for an hour, it will "create a wave of light" around the world.



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