Quoting Anne Frank, “Look at how a single candle can both, defy and define the darkness.” In a dark room when a candle is lit, the small flame from the candle doesn’t let the room be dark anymore.
But just when that flame goes off, the room is dark again. After all what else is darkness other than the absence of light?
This is why it is said that the candle can defy and define darkness.
A candle is solid wax in a cylindrical shape with a wick that runs through the candle’s length and helps it burn.
Candles were used extensively many years ago when the light bulb was not yet invented. Candles were a sort of replacement to the oil lamps.
The oil lamps could get really at times with the risk of oil getting spilt. Also, in an oil lamp, the wick had to be continuously changed.
It was not easy to carry oil, lamp and wick from one place to another just for a little light. But with candles, that is never a problem.
It is very easy to carry a candle with you; also there is no risk of spilling, etc. The only mess created by a candle is the wax that melts all around it.
But even that doesn’t cause a problem if a candle is kept on a proper stand. In fact, this melted candle wax can be remolded into different shapes of candle.
Even today, candles are used in remote areas where electricity has not yet been developed. Even in developed cities, candles find use as an emergency light when there is a power cut and there is no generator.
Not only this, but candles are also put upon birthday cakes. In fact, before cutting the cake one has to make a wish, blow the candles and then cut the cake.
The smoke from the candle is believed to carry those wishes to the God. The candle on the cake could also represent the ‘light of a person’s life’.
With each passing year, a candle on the cake is added, implying the person is now wiser and has a greater clarity in life.
A basic candle is white in colour and almost 15 cm in length. But this is not the only form of candle that is now available.
They are now seen in different shapes, sizes, colours, aromas, etc. Even for one single purpose, various types of candles are available.
Like for birthdays, there are numerical shaped candles, musical candles, candles that light up again on their own once they are blown, etc.
Besides wax candles, there are also gel candles available. These are mostly fancy candles used for decoration purposes.
They are differently coloured and conceptualized. Like, a sea is portrayed inside a glass container filled with gel.
Tiny items like fishes, stars, donuts, etc are put in the gel to make it more appealing. Then there are floating candles available too.
Almost all these types of candles are bought mostly during the time of diwali. Diwali is the festival of lights. It was first celebrated when prince Ram returned to Ayodhaya with his wife and brother after a fourteen-year-long exile.
The people of Ayodhaya celebrated their joy by lighting up the entire city with candles and diyas. They used the candles because with prince Ram returned the ray of hopes in their life returned.
The hope that no matter how hard the situations get, good always wins if you hang in there and keep fighting. The light of people’s lives had returned, and they used the candles of symbolize it.
From that day onward, India celebrates Diwali every year. Each house is decorated with candles. People float candles in holy waters like the Pushkar Lake, the Ganga ghat, etc.
A candle maker is called ‘chandler’ and based on that the name ‘chandelier’ was used for the decorative item that is suspended from the ceiling.
In earlier days, light in these chandeliers was because of the candles. They were pulled down using a rope and pulley system, the candles were lit and then it was put back to its place.
These chandeliers were a luxury back then and could be and could be spotted mostly in royal houses, palaces or the houses of the elite. Now the candles have been replaced by tiny bulbs, making the chandeliers very common to spot.
Nowadays, decoration of candles is done only to create an aesthetic and romantic environment. For example, candlelight dinners are still considered as the most popular and classy kind of dates.
Mostly the candles used in such situations are aromatic tea lights. The aroma and the fragrance keep the mood of the situation happy and soothing.
These aromatic candles are also used for therapeutic purposes. It is called aroma therapy or candle therapy. Different fragrances combined with different type of music and lighting in a room can bring about psychological changes in a person.
Different combinations of all these help the person in relaxing, concentrating, better sleeping, aura cleansing, etc. A person’s behavior changes according to the mood and the aromas have a great effect on one’s mood.
Candles also have religious values attached to them. Christians use candles while praying. Some light the candle before the prayer, some after it.
But the significance of lighting the candle is an offering to the Christ – the Source of All Light. The small flame of the candle represents that we too are the tiny parts of the universal source.
That is our souls are a part of Christ. We get our energy from the ultimate source.
Besides all these, candles are also a symbol of silent protest. In recent past, we have seen public taking part in candle marches to seek justice for various issues.
One such example was the Nirbhaya rape case. People all over India came out on streets with candles lit, doing a silent march and protest.
The candles were lit to signify the darkness that our society is living in now, the search for a change, and the search for a ray of positivity.
The candles were a sign that evils like these should be burned down. They were a symbol that some light, some hope, some strength is still left in us and if we all come together we can get rid of the darkness.
On an ending note, when there is so much we can learn from a candle, here are some of the most important points.
Just like they say, a candle burns the brightest before the flame goes off, even we experience the ugliest of storms before our lives become peaceful and our purpose is fulfilled.
Until then, it’s the flame that keeps burning within us that makes us useful at every step-in life.
Also, like the floating candle floats over water but doesn’t let it in, the moment water enters the candle, the candle becomes useless and drowns in the same water on which it once floated.
Even we humans live in a world that constantly judges and criticizes us, we should use that criticism and judgments to float away and make ourselves look even more beautiful.
But if we let the criticism enters our minds, the only result will be drowning and failing.
And finally, quoting Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light”; so don’t think much, grab a matchstick, light your candles and let there be light!
Feature Image Credit : Pixabay