Posted on December 8, 2013
All around the world, at 7:00 p.m. local time, candles will be lit for all children who have died in what is believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe.
I have gone to some of these simple ceremonies, in which parents and brothers and sisters, grandparents and aunts and uncles, gather friends and relatives and light a candle as they remember a beloved child who has died. Of course the occasions are solemn, but they are also happy—we are happy that the child is being remembered, we are happy to support the bereaved family, we are happy to share our love with one another, we are happy to be a part of something wonderful that has grown so large.
Compassionate Friends is the organization that promotes tonight's candle lighting ceremonies.
One particularly wonderful sort of candle lighting ceremony works well with a really large group. Everyone has a candle—perhaps in a candleholder made from a styrofoam cup—and the leader lights just two candles of nearby people. They, in turn, light two candles each, and each person who has a lighted candle lights two candles. It is beautiful to see the slow start but the surprisingly quick (exponential) lighting-up of a crowd.
Of course, most candle lighting ceremonies are small. In some the leader lights just one large, central candle, and in others each person lights a candle, often while briefly telling a memory of the child.
Another wonderful event might be a candle making party. Whenever your guests light up the candles they made, they will continue to think of the child honored by the party.
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