Paschal Candle Details

paschal candle 2013

There is a long tradition in my parish of decorating a “blank” paschal candle. A parishioner used to make them each year, but she has “retired” from that duty. The past few years, I’ve ordered a plain candle from a provider.

The decorating used to consist of a “band” which somewhat randomly assembled some of the elements: date, Greek letters, the cross. One of our parishioners, bless her, is still working on the old template, and produced a nice embroidered band, which you see above, which just had the word “Alleluia” on it. (Her idea–not mine.) No date, cross, or other details. She also thought a “tilted” presentation would serve well.

So we repurposed the decorative band from last year’s candle to make the cross, and I was able to confect two Greek letters. The gold numerals for the date are easy to find at a craft store–thanks to my wife.

paschal candle 2013 detail

I really dislike the wax nubs candle providers send. I always have. I like instead the red beads here–more suggestive of drops of living blood.

I’ve decorated homemade paschal candles and plain ones all sorts of ways for many years. I’m hoping to hike up this effort significantly in 2014. Anybody out there have any good ideas from their own history?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Paschal Candle Details

  1. Katherine says:

    How big (length and diameter) is your candle, and how big are those beads?
    (Are they beads, or large-head pins?)

    My approach is pretty basic — start with what the rubrics call for. I have a template for the cross, greek letters, and numbers, and use acrylic or enamel paint. Beyond that, depends on my time/energy.

    Using fabric/elaborate ribbon/patterned paper/etc I have mixed feelings about. It can add richness, and a level of intricacy hard to do with paint. But it’s wise to keep such stuff quite low on the candle, I think, so there is little risk of burning the candle down to that level. (Is it my imagination, or do the candles seem to burn down faster than they used to?)

  2. Todd says:

    The candle is 4 by 48 inches.

    I’ve embossed colored wax into a carved out candle. Never painted. I do like the three-dimensional aspect of my parishioners’ “raised” decorations. Needs more finesse. But it’s a good impulse.

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