Waxworks – T.I. Christou

Candles and Candlesticks

Candles and candlesticks in Greek Folklore

Plain candles, decorated and colored candles, candle figurines, candles and candles for religious holidays, for Basques and sorcerers, for folk medicine, candles embroidered for brides, candles-symbols of love, candles and wax figures of human life and death… All these, and so many other categories of candles, to be connected with the Greek folk traditions and, above all, to save us memories of wax creations, which man has always included in a whole framework of perceptions and beliefs about earthly and posthumous life.

There is, for example, the testimony that candlesticks made idols by some magicians and threw them in the corners of the wards of the sick Life, the wife of the Byzantine emperor Alexios Komnenos. Such idols, accompanied by engraved curses, were thrown into graves. Purpose: to harm the hated.

 Candles, in general, refer to many different folk songs and each reference has its symbolic meaning. In the acritic song "Tis Liogennitis"… 

 ...Light the candles, the candles, the candles

 and make my bed my silk, 

 says "Constantis the handsome, the little Constantine".

And in another stanza, we see Liogennitis asking for green candles and red lamps:

...My baby, my baby, my baby,
baby slaves of my father,
light green candles
and red lights,

what did Pantanassa mean,
to go and worship.

We have an interesting testimony that refers to a custom of Kimi in Evia, for knitted candles, such as today's traditional knitted candles of Florina and Edessa.We quote it as it is: “In the past, the fiancé would send the necessary large Easter candle to his fiancée on Easter eve. This candle would weigh one and a half or two okades, which was also very long, about two orgies. This, they wrapped it like the bottom of a basket (like the umbilical cord of the deceased, in northern Evia), leaving one end in the middle with the wick. of the fiancé. Then, they cover it with a transparent veil to show the coins and the fiancée holds it in the Resurrection at night and in Love in the afternoon… ”

There are also handmade knitted funeral candles, like in Edessa and Florina, which were made in the villages of Edipsos, in northern Evia: First they will make a braid of many small candles, which are very far away, that is, to reach, burning, to lift the dead. They wrap this like the bottom of a basket and unwrap one end from the middle and light it. This candle is placed exactly on the navel of the deceased, which is why it is also called navel wax. They stay up all night mourning the dead… ”

The candle is also used for spells to cure various diseases.

In the old days, in order to cure the fire (a kind of disease with redness, like eczema) they would take a piece of red cotton cloth, some frankincense and candlelight, put it on the fire and steam it where the fire was… They studied it three times and crucified it other three. The sign from the Karti of Kynouria is typical:

Slide find red cloth 
and brilliant candle
and tell him to go get lost…

The candle is also connected with the vows. Here are some cases: They wrap the church with a wick, then go to the candlestick and make it a candle. They cut it into candles and for forty days they burn a candle in the church.Others gird their body with a wick, which they take to the candlestick and make it a candle. They cut it into candles and for forty days they light a candle in the church. Purposes of the vow: for health, for happiness, for the return of an expatriate, for a woman to have a child, for love and much more. Finally, the order of the candle is well known. They order candles 1.2, and three more meters high, or as tall as a person (mpoi) and take them to church and light them. Invocation to the saint but also out of gratitude for some healing that was done.

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