Porch Light

There is nothing quite like the warm glow of a porch light – a welcoming beacon.  A sign that home awaits you – warmth, comfort, sustenance and family.

During the holidays, it’s traditional to place a lighted candle in a window, but why?

Candle in the Window

Not unlike a porch light, a lighted candle often symbolizes an open door to the weary traveler.  Back in 12th century Ireland, Irish Catholics were persecuted by British Protestants who attempted to eradicate their faith.  The Irish remained steadfast in their beliefs, and as a way to communicate with other Catholics, particularly priests, a lighted candle was placed in the window to signify an unlocked door and safe haven.

3 Candles

The British became suspicious of the practice, so the Irish explained the candle as a symbol to Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus that their homes were open to their plight.  The British accepted the explanation, although they found it somewhat folly.  Some homes then began to light three candles in an attempt to keep up the ruse.

Battery Candle

Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, where it is still practiced today.  The meaning may have changed for some, but the message is still the same, no matter the denomination, – open hearts, open homes.  What better message to share during the season of peace, joy, and love?

“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, but softly gives itself away; While quite unselfish, it grows small.”


Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney