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As Easter approaches, it is good to know what candles are used for that holiday. Also known as Easter candles or Christ candles, paschal candles are an important part of the fifty-day Easter season celebration of many Christian religions throughout the world. Paschal candles are large candles that have important Christian symbols on them. The decorations on a paschal candle include:

  • White candle
  • A cross
  • The letter for alpha
  • The letter for omega
  • The year
  • Optional decorations signifying redemption or renewal

White Candle - the candle itself is white, which along with gold, is the liturgical color of the Easter season.

A Cross - this is usually the center of the design. These are usually red and/or gold.

Alpha and Omega - to represent the beginning and the end, are above (alpha) and below (omega) the cross.

The Year - either surrounding the cross (2 numbers on top of the cross arms and 2 numbers under the cross arms) or the full year can be at the bottom of the candle.

Cloves - 5 cloves can be included on the candle. These represent the nails that hung Jesus on the cross, and also the 5 wounds of Christ. These are placed into the end of the arm of each cross, and one right in the middle of the cross.

Eucharistic Symbols - this can include the Paschal Lamb, Guadalupe, Eucharist, chalice, grapes, wheat, pelican, etc. These symbols are usually under the traditional cross.

 

Paschal candles for Easter

 

Generally made of at least fifty-one percent beeswax, the paschal candles for Easter remains in its place in the front of the church throughout the Easter season and is lit for all services. Once the fifty-day Easter season ends, on Pentecost, the candle is moved to its position by the baptismal font and is lit for all baptisms. It is also lit for all funeral services and is placed next to the casket at those times. In both baptism and funeral services, the significance of the paschal candle decorations remains the same as they were during the Easter season. They are symbols that God is always present with you from the beginning to the end.

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