ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - January 12, 2019 - 12:00am

If there is a strong and recurrent symbolism associated with the Sinulog festivity, it would be candles. Candles represent the consistent burning of devotion among the faithful. As it resides in the heart of every devotee, it keeps the burning faith to go on with life.


The candle is a common symbol across numerous religions. Its utilizations and implications — both emblematic and reasonable — change from person to person and from faith to faith, as does the historical backdrop of different traditional uses.

Flame is one of humankind’s most established and most dominant images, followed back to crude days by the open-air fire, used to get ready sustenance and as a light source to eliminate darkness. Accordingly, numerous religions from around the globe use candles — little, effectively-controlled flares — in customs and services for both their symbolic and practical qualities.

Before entering the church, vendors greet us with their candles. Before we pray, we light the candles and even use the heat in making the sign of the cross. In every step of this unique ritual comes the strong faith for the realization of what we are praying for.

Light is not a specifically foundational symbol of the Christian faith, such as communion or baptism, or even the cross. Yet, while we often take it for granted, light is a fundamental part of life. It continues to occupy a significant role in the worship of Christians, practically and symbolically.

Lit candles and symbol lights have a unique representative significance in the Christian Church, and no Christian service can be held without them. In the Old Testament, when the primary temple of God was based on earth the Tabernacle administrations were held in it with lights as the Lord Himself had appointed (Ex. 40:5, 25). Following the case of the Old Testament Church, the lighting of candles and of lampadas was as a matter of course incorporated into the New Testament Church’s services.

Subsequently, candles and lampadas are lit at all Church services, all with a wide assortment of profound and emblematic implications; for it was God who said “Let light sparkle out of haziness, Who has shone in our souls to give the light of the information of the brilliance of God notwithstanding Christ” (1 Cor. 4:6). So as well, lit candles in the congregation are likewise a statement of the worshippers’ adoration and love for God, their penances to him, and in the meantime of their happiness and of the profound triumph of the Church. The candles, by their consuming, help one to remember the unwaning light which in the Kingdom of Heaven makes happy the spirits of the upright who have pleased God.

Candles give off light. And light is pure as it penetrates darkness. It moves with incredible velocity. It nourishes life and illumines all that comes under its influence. Therefore it is a fitting symbol of God, the all-pure, the omnipresent, the vivifier of all things, the source of all grace and enlightenment.

Let there be light in every heart of the faithful especially during trying times. Let us rekindle our devotion to him and have an unceasingly burning desire to be of service and relevance to others’ lives.

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