The ceremonial lighting of the candles is found in many cultures, but has only become more popular in the Western countries for the last quarter of the century. The lighting of a single candle symbolically joins two individuals together as one, and the extinguishing of the two separate tapers represents the bride and the groom’s vow to sublimate their individual needs to the greater needs of their union – each other. Sometimes the candle is saved, and re-lit during special occasions, such as their anniversary. The lighting of the Unity Candle is usually followed by the pronouncement of the couple as husband and wife. Before the wedding ceremony, the candles are placed in the area where it will be held. After the exchange of vows and rings, the bride and groom go towards where the candle is. Each of them take their lighted taper and simultaneously light the single Unity Candle between them. They then blow out the candles and return them to their holders. Couples who are bringing children into the marriage sometimes include them with additional tapers.
The Unity Candle is not associated with any one religion or culture, so many couples of varied beliefs and backgrounds have used this addition to their wedding ceremony.
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