What is the Christingle?
A Christingle is a symbolic object that means ‘Christ’s light’. It consists of an orange with a candle held in its centre and a red ribbon around it. Four sticks holding fruit and nuts or sweets are pierced into the orange. The orange represents the world, the red ribbon symbolises Christ’s love and blood, the lit candle represents his light in the world, the four sticks symbolise either the four points of a compass or the four seasons and the fruit or sweets represent all of God’s creations. The Christingle tradition began in Germany in 1747 when John de Watteville, minister of a Moravian church, gave children a lighted candle with a red ribbon around it. This represented Christ as the light of the world – and the final prayer of the service was ‘Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children’s hearts, that theirs like Thine become’.
When is it celebrated?
The tradition is usually celebrated between mid-November and February, although they typically take place between Advent (four weeks before Christmas) and Candlemas (2 February). In Moravian churches, where it all began, the Christingle service is generally held on either the Sunday before Christmas or on Christmas Eve. What happens at a Christingle event? There are no set rules on how to celebrate Christingle, although typical ways to mark Christingle include outdoor events, street parades or a traditional Christingle church service. Most events include prayers, readings, hymns or carols, along with the lighting of Christingle candles, a fundraising collection for the Children’s Society, and a music or drama performance.