Candles are an important part of the church environment. Candles have long been used as a way to show devotion to Christ. In the Old Testament, oil lamps were burned to ‘sustain a perpetual flame,’ while the New Testament says, ‘A first tent was prepared with the lamp stand, the table and the bread of the presence; this is called the Holy Place,’ in a letter from Paul to the Hebrews.
Lighting a candle at church has become a symbolic gesture, and many worshippers will light a candle during a service, as well as forming a part of other services such as Mass, or in memory of a loved one.
As such an important part of the church, it’s important to ensure you maintain your church candles carefully. Learn everything you need to know in our ultimate guide to church candles and votive candle holders.
What is the significance of lighting a candle in church?
Lighting a candle in church is a way to demonstrate one’s faith. Light has an important place in Christianity, serving as a manifestation of God. It also serves as a representation of Christ, who said, “I am the true light.” Lighting a candle is an act of love and devotion, prolonging prayers, and is something that can be done at home as well as a church.
What are church candle stands called?
Church candle stands are known as votive stands. Votive means something that is ‘offered or consecrated in fulfilment of a vow’. It represents the prayer that is being said for one’s self or someone else, which is why they’re also known as a ‘prayer candle.’
What is a votive candle holder?
Votive stands have many forms, they can be a table-top stand or standalone, and are available in different styles and sizes. Being able to choose from a selection of votive stands means you can choose the most suitable option according to the space you have, and in line with other items you might display in the church. Common colours for votive stands include black and gold, or votive stands can also be made of wood.
What is symbolic about the votive candle station?
In Christianity, lighting a candle signifies a prayer intention. In a church, a votive candle station or stand is a dedicated space where someone may go to pray, either privately or with others.
In many churches, there is a collection box located near the candles to help pay to replenish candles and for their maintenance. You may also want to add some additional furniture to store candles and other supplies.
How to get candle wax out of glass votive holders
Maintaining a clean votive stand can help keep the space presentable, but dealing with candle wax isn’t always easy.
One of the simplest and fastest ways to clean glass votive holders is with hot water. The hot water can melt the excess wax and leave the glass clean again.
Church candles for prayers at home
As well as light candles at church, it’s also possible to light candles at home while saying a prayer. You can choose from a range of church candles, including pillar and votive candles.
In addition to the candles themselves, you can also buy votive holders, extinguishers, drip mats and more to help you light and maintain candles safely.
How to take care of your church candle
To help you take care of your church candle, there are some guidelines you can follow:
- Burn the candle on a flat, level surface, away from direct sunlight and warm environments.
- The wick should be upright, and a new wick should be trimmed to around half an inch.
- Using a taper can prevent materials from dropping onto the candle, and is preferable compared to matches or other lighting materials.
- If you’re relighting a candle, ensure the candle is clean and the wick is intact.
- Do not extinguish candles by blowing on them, use a candle snuffer instead.
How to fix pillar candles from tunnelling
A tunnelling candle burns through the middle, leaving a wall of wax that can spill down the side onto a stand or altar, while also causing the candle to become smokey. Making sure the wick is trimmed and upright before the first lighting can help prevent tunnelling.
If you notice a candle is tunnelling, you can extinguish the candle and attempt to move some wall with a knife before the wax fully hardens. Using a thicker wick can also help aid the burning process.
To avoid tunnelling as much as possible, candles should be burned for at least an hour. A slower burn time can create the walls, as it hasn’t had enough time to melt the outer wax.
You might also want to consider using different candles in the summer and in the winter, when it may be draughtier.
How to keep pillar candles from dripping
A dripping candle can lead to a number of issues, including damaging furniture. To keep pillar candles from dripping, you can:
- Keep candles away from draughts if possible.
- Keep candles at least 10cm apart to prevent unnecessary melting caused by a neighbouring candle.
- Place candles on a flat and stable surface.
- Assess the wick to see if it’s too long. This can cause a larger flame that could lead to dripping.
- You can also buy drip mats to protect surfaces if your space is draughty.
Buy Your Church Candles Today
While it’s easy to take candles for granted, they have a lot of meaning in the church, which means they need to be carefully considered. From making sure you have somewhere to display candles, to maintaining them and ensure they don’t cause damage, there’s a lot to think about for your church candles.
Explore Hayes & Finch’s church candle selection for all your church’s candle needs.
Learn all you need about paschal candles here!