Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony
Each year on the second Sunday in December, the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who left too soon. As candles are lit at 7pm local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon. The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their children so "...that their light may always shine! "
Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, this annual Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. TCF's WCL started in the United States in 1997 as a small internet observance, but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten. The Oneonta Chapter of TCF has been holding a candle lighting ceremony in Oneonta, NY annually since 1996.
The Compassionate Friends and allied organizations are joined by local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children's gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers. Services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand.
Every year you are invited to post a message in the Remembrance Book which will be available, during the event, at TCF's national website.
All allied bereavement organizations, churches, funeral homes, hospices, and formal and informal bereavement groups are invited to join in the remembrance each year.
Each year, Endicott, NY artist, David Geer creates an original hand-painted ornament. These are presented as gifts to each family who attends the Candle Lighting. This year, the ornament theme of Cardinals and yellow roses was selected in honor of Paula Hickey, who was a Co-founder and served for 20 years as Chapter Leader. Paula passed away in September, 2021 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Her dedication to supporting families after the death of a child was truly remarkable. Paula set the standard for what it means to be a compassionate friend.