What is the difference between the Christ Candle and the Paschal Candle?

Christ Candle

  • A white candle that some congregations place in the center of the Advent Wreath
    • It is not an ELCA established practice
    • There is no historical purpose – used by some congregations for their own purpose
    • There is no liturgical purpose
  • It is lit on Christmas Day (not Christmas Eve) and during the weeks of Christmas when the Advent Wreath is used
  • There is no provision for use outside being part of the Advent Wreath


Paschal Candle

  • It represents Christ’s triumph over the darkness of sin and death.
  • It is renewed each year at the Vigil of Easter (Saturday before Resurrection Sunday):
    • which begins in darkness, symbolic of the darkness of the sepulcher that held the crucified Christ
    • where a new fire is kindled, representing the Risen Christ, the Light of the World
    • it is lit from this new fire
  • It is used:
    • during 50 days of Easter; the period from Easter Sunday through the Day of Pentecost
    • at Baptisms (placed near the Baptismal Font), the candle presented to the baptized is lit from the Paschal Candle
    • at Funerals (placed near the head of the casket) as a reminder that “In our Baptism we have already died and been raised with Christ.” (Romans 6:3-5)
    • after the Day of Pentecost, the unlit Paschal Candle is placed near the Baptismal Font as a visual reminder that in our Baptism we are crucified and resurrected with Christ.

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