Lighting a candle is a beautiful way to honor someone in your life, whether it’s a special day for them or they’re no longer with you. In many traditions around the world, it’s common practice to light a candle for someone that died. However, you can feel free to light a candle for any special occasion, from birthdays to prayer.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Why Light a Virtual Candle?
- How to Light an Online Funeral Candle in Memory of a Loved One
- How to Light a Birthday or Celebratory Candle on Someone’s Special Day
If you’re out of candles or unable to light a candle in your home for any reason, you still have options. You can still pay respects from far away or virtually by lighting a virtual candle. Your digital candle is still a symbol of your intentions and thoughts.
It still represents bright light and warmth, even if it’s behind a screen. If you’re ready to get started, here’s how to light a virtual prayer, funeral, or birthday candle.
COVID-19 tip: If you're planning or attending a Zoom funeral or memorial service using a service like GatheringUs, see if you can get other online guests to light virtual candles for the deceased. Consult with the funeral director, event planner, or religious leader to see what changes will be made to the ceremony, wake, and reception.
Why Light a Virtual Candle?
First, you might be wondering about the benefits of a virtual candle vs. a physical candle. While it’s hard to deny the appeal of a physical candle you light yourself, this isn’t always possible or practical.
You might not be allowed to light a real candle where you live, or you might not be able to access one. In addition, virtual candles are easy to share with friends and family. You can share a digital candle through a virtual funeral or another online memorial service.
Simply put, a virtual candle is easy, affordable, and accessible. They’re also safer than real candles which pose a risk if left unattended.
How to Light an Online Funeral Candle in Memory of a Loved One
In many religions, lighting a candle in honor of a loved one is a way to pay respects after they’ve passed. This is commonly done during or after the individual’s funeral or on the anniversary of their death.
Lighting a candle helps you feel connected to their memory, and it’s an intentional way to keep your loved ones in your thoughts. Follow these steps to light a memorial candle virtually.
Step 1: Consider the type of candle
Before you begin, think about the type of candle you’d like in honor of your loved ones. Religious candles come in all shapes and sizes, and you can even find some devoted to specific elements of religions (like the Holy Spirit or Virgin Mary).
Candles also come in all different colors. Some traditions around the world assign a different significance to these different colors, so that’s also something to keep in mind. Finally, because it’s a digital candle, you can even customize how it burns. From slow-burning to flickering, you’re able to fully personalize your candle lighting experience.
Step 2: Choose your candle online
Now it’s time to choose and light your virtual candle. There are a number of different online services that do this on your behalf. Some are through churches or religious centers, and others are non-denominational.
You’ll also see some that charge a small fee to keep the virtual candle “burning” for a set amount of time. Here are the most common online candle platforms:
- Center for Healing Arts: The Center for Healing Arts understands just how sacred the tradition of lighting a candle is for many families. Their tool is simple and free to use, and you can also dedicate the candle with a message.
- Gratefulness: Gratefulness is a nonprofit that makes it possible to light a virtual candle online. Over 21 million candles have been lit online already.
- Heal Grief: Heal Grief is a platform that provides support to those suffering from a painful loss. Their virtual candle tool represents prayers from around the world.
- Lighting a Candle: This digital candle source has a selection of Christian chapels to choose from to light a candle in honor of a loved one.
Step 3: Dedicate the candle
Next, when you choose your candle provider, dedicate your candle. Each online candle tool has an option to dedicate your candle with any special words or phrases. You could include any of the following to honor your loved one:
- Their name
- Important dates
- A prayer or poem
- A quote
- Personalized message
Take a few moments to reflect during this process. Consider what this candle means to you, and focus on honoring your loved one’s memory.
Step 4: Share your candle
Finally, once lit, it’s time to share your candle. The best part about lighting a candle digitally is that it’s easy to share with friends and family. Whether you share it on a social media page, via text, or on an online memorial site, this is a great way to include others in your reflection.
Invite family members to leave messages on the memorial page or light their own candle. If you can’t be there in person, you can join together in spirit or over the internet. For a virtual funeral, GatheringUs helps families and friends arrange digital events in honor of a loved one.
How to Light a Birthday or Celebratory Candle on Someone’s Special Day
Candles aren’t only limited to memorials. Many people also light candles on someone’s birthday or a special day as a way to celebrate.
With a virtual candle, it’s easy to share this moment of reflection with others. Start with the first step above, then continue to the following.
Step 1: Choose an online candle tool
You could always use the same online candles in the memorial section, but sometimes that feels like the wrong fit for a birthday or happy celebration. Here are some platforms designed for celebrations:
- Virtual Candle HD app: The first choice is a Virtual Candle app available on iOS or Android. With this app, you can experience a realistic virtual candle. It’s even touch-sensitive.
- Online Stopwatch Candle: Set a timer with a candle to perfectly time blowing out the candles of a virtual cake.
- 247 Candles: 247 Candles has different types of candles for all types of situations, including prayers.
Step 2: Dedicate your candle
Next, dedicate your candle. Whether it’s for your birthday or someone special, make sure it’s clear what this candle is for.
Customize it as much as possible and leave a message. Some ideas for what to include in the dedication are:
- The date
- Well wishes
Step 3: Share the celebratory candle
Finally, share the candle to bring others into the fun. They might wish to light candles of their own or to enjoy the one you’ve already created. When you make a candle online, it’s easy to share this bright light with those you love and trust.
Share your candle on social media, via text and email, and on websites that matter to you. There is no right or wrong way to light a virtual candle. As long as you’re considering your intentions, you’re on the right track.
Light a Virtual Candle of Your Own
There are endless reasons to light a candle of your own, whether you’re remembering someone special or celebrating an occasion. While candles are easy to find, it isn’t always practical to light one yourself.
Not only do these pose a fire hazard, but you also can’t leave them burning for a long time. When you use a virtual candle, none of these same risks exist. Instead, you can leave your digital flame burning for entire days (or longer).
Candles are a reminder of remembrance and togetherness. They help us recognize the importance of being prepared, whether you create an online will with Trust & Will or you talk to your family about your own final wishes. A virtual candle is a part of someone's legacy. While you might not be able to feel the candle’s warmth through the screen, you still experience the calming light.