The tradition of candles in the window during Christmas

Candles symbolise warmth and cosiness that’s why it’s not a shock that candles are part of Christmas traditions for centuries. Like gifts are stored under the tree or cookies with milk left on the table for Santa, candles are also placed in windows all over the world.

Where did this tradition start?

Christmas tradition of lighting a candle and placing it near the window back to colonial times. The tradition began from the Irish whose faith was forbidden by British priests attempting to repress the Catholics of Ireland, by preventing them from their religion.

Although, the Irish priests didn’t agree and went underground, travelling and praying in secret. To help the priests during Christmas the Irish Catholics began lighting candles in their windows and leaving their doors unlocked. That was a sign that it was safe for them to visit, have something to eat, get warm and relax.

Today, even though families all around the globe light a candle during Christmas the true meaning changed. Let’s find out how this tradition changed and maybe it is time for you too to implement new traditions during Christmas at your house. 

Welcoming travellers 

Back in the days, there were no lights on the streets so for travelers it was difficult to orientate during the night. Candles burning in the window was as a sign “welcome” for tired travellers or for those who are coming to visit. It was a gesture of hospitality and friendship. Also, this tradition was followed by hotels, B&B and other accommodation services to show tired travellers that they have available beds and to lead them to their doors. 

Remembering others

Candles were often placed in the window when a family member recently had died or just was away. This sign showed that they remember this family member and let him know that they miss him. It also represents a silent prayer for the safe return and a sign that someone is waiting at home. This tradition helps families to remember loved ones during the family celebration - Christmas.


A lit candle in the window can also send the message that a child had been born in a family. In this situation, the candle means the celebration of a new family member. 

Christmas candle holder

Those traditions brought families and strangers closer together during Christmas time. Although, that’s actually not hard to understand why this tradition survived and why you should consider also starting this tradition at your house. Lighting a candle in a beautiful openwork ceramic candle holder at your house would be a great interior detail which people could also see from the outside as well. Also, it is a cosy detail which would help to feel Christmas spirit for the whole family. 

Can you remember those pretty Christmas ornaments when you were a kid or Christmas cookies plate which you saw and immediately knew that the Christmas is coming? Ceramic Christmas candle holder has the same effect it reminds you of the cosiness and family gathering for the Christmas time. 

Also, it is a relaxing room detail which will help kids to sleep while watching dancing candle fire and listening to Christmas fairy tales.

1 comment

  • These are beautiful! I always have candles in my windows- spreads a beautiful warmth and glow that speaks of comfort and love!

    Grayce Simpson

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