Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. She writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek wedding shop. Connect with Sia on Facebook or say hello on Twitter. You may also subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog or join the Greek Cooking Challenge.
A Tradition For Children and Their God-Parents
It is tradition for Godparents to give their children an Easter Candle to take to Church for the Saturday night service. Plain white candles can be purchased for a donation from the Church, however many people purchase candles online or from local delis a few weeks before Easter so that they can give the candle as a gift.
Orthodox Easter Candles
Orthodox Easter candles can be decorated in many different ways. Depending on your child/godchild’s interest and age, you can purchase all sorts of designs which include colored candles, toys attached, ribbons and jewelry, as well as icon prints and religious themes.
If you are crafty, then you don’t have to buy the candles from a store. You can easily make your own Easter candle from home and decorate it with paint or gel. It is also nice to allow the children make their own candles for Church.
Is It Superficial?
Dictionary.com defines the word superficial as, “being at, on, or near the surface.”
If we teach our children that Easter is all about the toy on their candle or chocolate eggs or cracking the red eggs, then they have only touched the surface of the true meaning of Easter.
Is it superficial to give a child a decorated Easter candle? Well, technically, yes it is. However I personally believe that this Easter tradition is a passageway for children to learn more about Easter. The toys and gadgets spark a child’s interest and can create a positive connection with the Church. Having a candle that is decorated with the child’s favorite toy is a way to make Easter relatable. As the child get’s older, the child will have memories and examples of positive experiences with the Church, and therefore, they are more likely to be open to learning more about the Orthodox Faith.
The same type of positive connection can be sparked for adults too.
What Is The Meaning Of A Candle?
In the Orthodox Church, a lighted candle represents “the light of Christ”. On the Saturday night of Easter week, just before midnight, everything goes dark. All the lights in the Church are turned off and the mood is quiet and somber. Then, a candle is lit as a symbolic act to proclaim the resurrection of Christ. The light of Christ from this candle is shared amongst everyone in the Church. As we share the candle we say, “Christos Anesti,” which means, “Christ is risen.” In reply the person who receives the light says, “Alithos Anesti,” which means, “Truly He is Risen.”
My Own Experience
A few years ago when traveling the world with my husband, we visited Saint Sophia’s Church in London on the Saturday night of Anastasi. There were hundreds of people, thousands even, crowded around the outside of the Church. The streets were packed with people of all ages and everyone was holding a decorated Easter candle.
This is the first time I had ever seen an Easter candle that wasn’t plain white. Here in Brisbane (where I’m from), decorated candles are not very popular. Most people just have a plain white candle with a little red cup on top which you buy from the Church when you get there. If someone who does have a decorated candle, then most likely it came from a relative or Godparents who live overseas or interstate.
Now I sell Easter candles around the world. I make a few designs myself, but mostly I sell Easter candles that have been made by talented designers.
Is Selling Easter Candles Materialistic?
Some people say that those who make and sell decorated Easter candles are acting in a materialistic way because they are selling candles to make a profit when the money should be donated to the Church.
However, this is not the case at all! In fact, I probably spend more money on making the candles than I receive when I sell them. The costs involved in making a candle can be quite high. It can also be very labor intensive. The people who make candles and sell them do it because they love it. The designers that I work with love to see the joy on the kids faces when they open up a gift from the Godparents, and they love helping people to learn more about our Orthodox religion. No one is going to make a million dollars from Easter candles. For us, selling Easter candles is about the tradition, not the money.
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