Field Guide

Candelabra

Candles and candelabras symbolize light during the dark times of life and also light the way to the next world. Candles are a common funerary device in Eastern and Western funeral rites. Two candles on either side of a cross represent the dual nature of Christ. Three candles represent the Trinity. In Qabalism, three candles represent wisdom, strength, and beauty. Four candles represent the four evangelists. Five candles are symbolic of the wounds of Christ. Six candles is the number of creation and perfection, signifying the six days God took to create the Earth, less the seventh day of rest. Seven candles can also represent the seven days of creation; the seven deadly sins; the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit; the sun, moon, and five principal planets; and the seven joys and seven sorrows of the Virgin.

Taken from Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography written and photographed by Douglas Keister, published by Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, 2004.


Candle or Candelabra

Represents the divine light of Christ, faith, or a symbol of mortality. It is also used to represent light even through the darkest times in life or lighting the way to the next world. In Judaism it is used to signify the deceased was a woman.
• Candles being snuffed: Loss of life, time, or mortality.
• Candles with a cross in middle: Dual nature of Christ.
• Candles, three: The Trinity, or wisdom, strength, and beauty.
• Candles, four: The Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
• Candles, five: The wounds of Christ.
• Candles, six: The six days it took God to create Earth minus the seventh day of rest.
• Candles, seven: The seven days of creation, the seven deadly sins, the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit (the sun, moon, and five principal planets), and the seven joys and seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary.

Taken from Our History In Stone: The New England Cemetery Dictionary by Christina Eriquez, published by Sinematix, Brookfield, CT, 2009.