Thursday, August 23, 2007

Origin of the Candlelight Vigil?

Disclaimer: tragedies are tragedies, and people in hard times are free to mourn appropriately. Oh, and Happy 200th Post!

If you're of the betting kind, it's a sure win that every time something remotely tragic happens, there will be a candlelight vigil organized. I've wondered about the origin of the candlelight vigil. Did it begin as a non-religious thing? Was it pagan in nature? Or was it even a Christian thing? Or does anyone really know? Personally, I think it has a sort of pagan feel to it, and so I'm not inclined to want to participate in them. (I said I'm not inclined; that doesn't mean I'll never participate in one) But that is just totally speculative speculation on my part, and you are officially not condemned by me if you participate in them.

I searched Google for origin of candlelight vigil (without quotation marks) and it turned up largely useless results. I'm 11 pages in and have found nothing explaining what I'm after. Searching for "origin of the candlelight vigil" (with quotation marks) yields only one result. This result leads to an Islamic discussion forum thread, which only has 3 entries. The originator also wonders about the same question as I do, and says that his/her research points towards Druids as a possible origin of this ritual. Which would, of course, support my original totally speculative speculation.

That's just one person's research though, so who knows? In my casual searching, I've not found anything else, so totally speculative speculation is only cut down one notch to total speculation.

If you are one to not mix in pagan traditions with your daily life, perhaps you should give this one some additional research. Of course, this leads to the issue of how diluted a tradition must be before it is generally considered "okay" for Christians to practice. Weddings come to mind as events that are rife with traditions and superstitions. I'm sure not all the traditions are of a pagan nature, and I wouldn't think that many of them would be harmful (but you can't be too sure, and this is why it's great that God gives grace), but a good dose of questioning traditions couldn't hurt.

On a side note, we only did a first dance because that's what's done at receptions; if we happened upon a rip in the fabric of space-time (how cool would that be?) and went back to the wedding planning phase, we wouldn't repeat the somewhat awkward experience that this was, considering there was no other dancing at the reception. Not because we condemn dancing, or not that the church condemned dancing (I don't think), but because our families are generally not the dancing types.

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5 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Myfriendconnie@SmockityFrocks

    This reminds me that I've been wondering about the origins of saying, "God bless you," or "Bless you," when someone sneezes. I think it's strang and we don't do it.

    Off to Google now...

  • Myfriendconnie@SmockityFrocks

    I also think it's STRANGE.

  • Ron and Ginny

    To say "god bless you" when someone sneezes is actually seen as taking the Lord's name in vain in some circles. I am leaning toward that, myself. As for candle-light vigils, they seem pagan to me, also.

  • Ewokgirl

    Honestly, I've never given it a thought before. I'm not really one to participate in that sort of thing anyway, so I don't really care about it's origins.

    There are so many things we do with convoluted paths from origin to modern tradition. Many Christmas traditions come to mind. I believe that God cares about our hearts and intentions, not the obscure roots of traditions we practice.

    As for "God Bless You," I believe the origin of that comes from a time when people believed that sneezing stemmed from evil spirits being expelled from the body. Or something like that.

  • Younus

    I found this