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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
Encyclopedia of Christmas and New Year's Celebrations, 2nd ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2003
References in periodicals archive ?
The event marked the 50th anniversary of Christingle and was attended by the Bishop Libby Lane.
The Christingle service originated in Germany in 1747 by a Moravian Pastor.
A church spokesman said: "We will be pre-making the Christingles this year and as in previous years we are looking for a party of people to help do this.
The family Christingle Service on Christmas Eve is at 6pm on Christmas Eve.
A number of Christingle services are being held throughout December and beyond.
The tradition of the Christingle, a decorated orange featuring a candle, began in Germany in the mid-18th century and the cathedral will raise funds for the Dorothy Menzies Children's Care Home in Belize, a cause taken up by long-time Bahrain resident Yvonne Trueman.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, Christingle was introduced to England in 1968.
It takes place at the school in Bulkington Road, directly after the school's popular Christingle service at the nearby St John's Church.
The annual Christingle Service at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral has raised e1/4270 for Anemoni - the Cyprus Association for Cerebral Palsy & Handicapped Children.
THERE was a time when all you needed to be a Blue Peter presenter was a willingness to get messy, a fondness for cats and the ability to make an Advent calendar and a Christingle orange every December.
The most stable Christmas service with which I was involved was a Christingle one held every year in the wonderful, unspoilt 18th century church in West Yorkshire.
Matthew Boulton, Handsworth - There will be a Christingle service for all pupils at the multi-ethnic school, which also has ties with the local church.

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