The tradition of one white candle in a window


If you drive around Guilford during the holidays, you will notice many houses with a single white candle in each window.  This is a tradition that dates back to colonial times, but not just during the holiday season.

Legend has it that the Irish brought this tradition to America during the English persecution.  The Irish were not allowed to celebrate mass or have churches, so the priests hid in caves.  The priests would then travel back into town in the night to hold mass for his believers in their homes.  Families hoped that a priest would visit them on Christmas.  They would leave their doors unlocked and a candle burning in the window as a signal to the priest.  The English authorities never suspected anything, as they were told this was an Irish tradition to guide Mary and Joseph to their home on Christmas.  The Irish were always good with their stories, so the English never suspected a thing.

The tradition continued on after that as a sign of welcome to to guide travelers.  Many families placed a single candle in their windows when they were home and to welcome visitors.  Someone traveling down a long, dark road might see the light in the distance and and be comforted by this beacon.  It also was used to represent good news for their family.

Today, the tradition continues all over the country for many different reasons.  Most people opt for an electric or battery operated version.  Candles are available with sensors or timers (on 8 hours, off 16 hours).  We have a good selection of all types at Page’s, but they do sell out quickly each year!

However you choose to decorate your home, we hope you have a joyous holiday season full of many visitors.


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