Christingle

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Christingle

Christingle is the name of a special Protestant Christmas Eve service popular in England. The word also refers to the decorated candles distributed to children at this service. Christingle candles can be traced back to the Moravians, a group of Protestant Christians whose denomination was founded in the fifteenth century in what is now the Czech Republic (for more on the Moravians, see Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Christmas in; Lovefeast).

Moravians have long distributed beeswax candles, trimmed with red paper or ribbon, to worshipers at their Christmas Eve services. As the congregation sings hymns they hold up their flickering candles, symbolizing the Christ child or the Christ light. Moravians brought this custom with them to England, where the German Christkindel (Christ child) became "Christingle."

As the years went by, the design of the candle changed and acquired new symbolism. Children attending today's Christingle services receive an orange into which a candle, festooned with red and white ribbons and paper, has been inserted. Raisins, nuts, candies, and other sweets, skewered onto toothpicks, surround the candle. While the candle still stands for Christ, the orange is said to represent the world. The sweets may symbolize the sweetness that comes from following Christ or the bounty of the earth, and the red and white paper represents the blood of Christ and its power to purify. (For asimilar custom, see Wales, Christmas in.)

Christingle services and candles can also be found in Labrador, Canada, and other places where English Moravians sent missionaries. Instead of an orange, the people of Labrador insert their Christingle candles into an apple. In England the Christingle service and candles have spread beyond Moravian churches, becoming popular with other Protestants as well.

Web Sites

The Moravian Church in America offers a page on the Christingle at:

The Royal School of Church Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting all styles of church music in all denominations, offers information on Christingle services at: christingle_services.htm
References in periodicals archive ?
The workshop was in preparation for a Christingle service today at 4.
There are a multitude of specific events that take place every year around Christmas time at your church, including the candlelit Christingle service, a late-night service on Christmas Eve, an uplifting morning mass on Christmas Day and then starting the new year off right on New Year's Day.
The children in Key Stage One were the actors in the tableau and Key Stage Two took on the role of narrators, telling the story of the nativity and also the history of the Christingle.
HUNDREDS of children converged on Coventry Cathedral for its annual Christingle celebrations.
The Children's Society's Christingles are a great way for people to get involved in the campaign and raise funds for its work.
At the celebration, christingles are distributed which consist of an orange bearing a candle symbolising the world, red ribbon and a colourful array of fruit representing God's love for the world.
HARD work, whilst enjoying after church coffee and chat paid off when All Hallows, Almondbury had a packed church at the Christingle.
Each child was given an orange at the end of the service to take away with them and make a christingle of their own at school.
As part of the campaign, more than one million children will join in Christingle charity celebrations throughout this month.
MARSDEN Christmas Eve - December 24- started |the Christmas services at St Bartholomew's with Christingles at 4.
Children from the nearby Sketchley Hill Primary School will be taking part in the service and making the christingles - oranges bearing a candle to symbolise the world.
The candles were lit on the Christingles and the children formed a circle round the church singing 'Away in a Manger.

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