Candles are a special part of any occasion, providing a warm, comforting glow and reminding us of happy times.

A single candle in a darkened room can show us the power of light over darkness, and many candles can amplify that light and provide potent symbolism. At a memorial service, candles can be particularly meaningful. In fact, candles have been used in funeral services for thousands of years: even the word “funeral” stems from the Latin “funus,” which means torch. In the past, people lit candles to guide people to their eternal rest, or to drive away evil spirits. Today, we do it for a variety of other reasons.

  • Candles are symbolically beautiful. Light represents life, and candles are a beautiful, natural way to bring that symbolism into the funeral service. Funeral candles are traditionally white, symbolizing purity and representing the soul of the person who has died.
  • They’re also literally beautiful. There’s a sort of peace that descends with the aesthetic of candles, and they make a room seem warmer. Their gentle glow makes people pause, take a breath and spend a moment in reflection.
  • Candles can be used in many different ways during a funeral service. They are very versatile because they come in so many shapes and sizes. You can choose to have tapers on the altar or pillars flanking the coffin. A bank of votive candles might give guests a way to show their solidarity with you in your time of grief as they each light a candle in memory of your loved one. You might even choose a time during the service in which the lights are dimmed and guests light candles as a meaningful shared moment of memorialization.
  • Candles make a lovely and thoughtful keepsake for family and friends. Offering candles is a way to create a special memento for guests to take home in remembrance of your loved one. These candles can be lit on meaningful occasions in the future to give the recipients a tangible way to reflect and remember the life that your loved one lived.

At Chapel of the Chimes Oakland, we understand the importance of creating a meaningful service that celebrates life and puts families on the path toward healing. We provide a beautiful, serene setting and work with families to help them plan a personalized ceremony to honor the unique life that was lived. Call 510.379.5200 today for more information.