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Baptismal Candles FAQ

What are baptismal candles? Baptismal Candles are central to the baptismal ceremony. They usually include one large decorated white candle for the ceremony and two or more smaller white candles to be carried by the children who circle the font.

What is the typical baptismal candle? The traditional decoration of a baptismal candle includes a large bow of ribbon or tulle with streamer. The candle is usually 16 inches to 33" inches in height, however, may be any length of the Godparents’ choosing.

When are the candles used during a baptism? The use of the candles comes into play during the ceremony after the Sacrament of Baptism. While the baby is dressed into his or her new baptismal clothing in a side room of the church, the children who are invited to participate in the ceremony are called up to the altar and given their baptismal candle to hold. Traditionally, 1 to 5 children participate. Children's candles are typically smaller and more basic in decoration than the main baby’s baptismal candle.

When the baby returns to the altar, the decorated baptismal candle is lit. The priest, the godparent holding the infant and a few selected children walk around the font three full times - symbolizing a dance of celebration for the baby who has newly entered into the church. The main decorated candle is held by the second Godparent (if there is one), the Godparent, or a parent of the child.

When in the year are baptisms not allowed? Baptisms are not permitted from December 25 to January 6, on Easter Holy Week & on major feast days.

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