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Your Guide to the Paschal Candle

Updated: May 13, 2023

Paschal candle with smoke stream in a Catholic church. Your guide to the paschal candle from Catholic blogger His Girl Sunday.

paschal candle, guide, Catholic Easter custom


Paschal candle with arrows pointing to it that describe each part and what it means. Explanations by Catholic liturgical living blogger His Girl Sunday.

Cross with white banner blowing. Calendar with white flowers. Catholic blogger His Girl Sunday explains the meaning of the cross symbol and the year.

Alpha and omega explanation. Incense explanation with incense swinging. Catholic blogger explains the meaning of the Alpha & Omega and the Incense pins on the paschal candle.

Bee buzzing in the left corner, lit candle in the right corner. Catholic blogger His Girl Sunday explains the meaning of the wax and the flame in the paschal candle.

Liturgically Rich Symbol

The Paschal Candle is a liturgically rich symbol of the Catholic faith and we receive a new one every year at the Easter Vigil. The evening of Holy Saturday, a fire is lit in a metal bowl, called a brazier. This is important because we receive this new and blessed fire which serves to light the Paschal candle. This is then processed in to the dark Church as a way of showing Christ's light and resurrection.

The candle is a representation of Christ Himself, and because of this it is purposefully positioned upon on a Paschal candle stand that is set next to the altar. During the vigil, the priest will press five grains of incense into the candle. These grains are molded into wax nails and inserted into the candle to represent the five wounds of Christ. The incense calls to mind the spices that were used to prepare Christ's body for the tomb.

During the entire 50 days of Easter you will see the candle remain in the sanctuary and it will be lit for all liturgies during this time. After Pentecost the candle is moved next to the baptismal font where it will be lit during all baptisms throughout the year. This indicates to us that the light of Christ is being passed to each person that comes into the Church, beginning with the Catechumens at the Easter Vigil. You might also see the candle lit at a Catholic funeral Mass which is meant to remind us that the baptism which the deceased received was a death to self and a resurrection into the life of Christ. Now they are entering into physical death and hopefully a new life with Christ.

For Your Own Home

The Paschal Candle is one of the most sacred and enduring elements in Christianity, so we bring this custom into our home too. We use it at Sunday family dinner, family and personal prayer time, and when we are feeling like we need the light of Christ in our day. We do this to bring into our home all that the Paschal Candle represents; Jesus being our light, dispelling spiritual darkness, our own baptisms and the promises we made, and the hope of the resurrection.

You can get one here!

Hand holding five golden pins with a paschal candle cross sticker laying on a marble counter. Liturgy market has paschal candle kits for the home.

Pillar candle with paschal candle kit sticker and pins are being held up in a cathedral by the owner of liturgy market. Paschal candle kit can be found in liturgy market.

What else would you like to learn about the Paschal (Easter) Candle?

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Catholic liturgical living blogger His Girl Sunday signature see you in the eucharist.

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