Since 1997, the second Sunday in December has been the day of the Worldwide Candle Lighting – an event to commemorate the memory of all the children who have died in the past year. The event was initiated by The Compassionate Friends (TCF), a US-based organisation providing support to families and individuals who have lost a child. The candle lighting event was started as a small internet observance, but has since grown to an international initiative, said to be the largest mass candle lighting in the world.
This year marks the 15th candle lighting, and people around the world are encouraged to take part by lighting candles at 7pm, local time.
Imagine all the lights in the world being turned off, and then each person across the globe lighting a candle at the moment the clock strikes 7pm in their location, keeping the candle lit for an hour until 8pm. If you were to see this from space, it should be like a giant flame moving across the world from east to west, as time marches on.
OK, it probably won’t quite look that way – for one thing, the progression of lights won’t be smooth, but rather happen in discrete steps because time zones are defined in discrete steps (as folks in one time zone light their candles, those in the previous timezone would be extinguishing theirs). Clouds may also obscure parts of the view, but what the heck, it’s just a theoretical image anyway, so we may as well assume clear skies across the globe for this one night. Still, just imagine the world being lit up by a spreading wave of candlelight – it does sound grand, doesn’t it? And quite fitting as an act of remembrance for the millions of children who have lost their lives through the year – through war, famine, disease, accidents or whatever specific reason their lives were cut short.
So go ahead, light a candle, and be part of a virtual 24 hour memorial of light, circling the globe in memory of the children.