So, there was once again bombardment, Air Strike and use of Chemical weapon by Government Forces or ISIS, we here lit a candle for solidarity and peace. When there was Paris Attack, Suicide Bombing in Brussels, Open Gun Firing from Mass Shooting obsessed boy at Munich, we lit candle, changed our profile picture as an expression of our sympathy towards grieved souls. And latest Tragic Event of air crash of US-Bangla at TIA, we prayed for the lost soul and again lit candle in their memory.
No matter what forms of unprecedented tragedy mishappen at any corner and nook of the world, the news gets quickly spread and we show our sympathy through lighting candle. This has been a common norm and practice in general, by clubs, group of people or even individual.
What’s the purpose?
A question whose answer we need to find and justify our action. When I participate at such event to show our solidarity for global community or sympathy to any tragic happening, I often hear people disparaging such action, calling it futile effort and drama or just an excuse to post something on social media. Well, those belittling such efforts are mostly pessimistic people( realist in their term) who provide no alternative solution or opinion but engage themselves in mocking such action. Yes, I do get baffled when they happen to be my close associates. Nonetheless, I try to seek the purpose and understand the reason behind our such action and also why many people reproach it.
The religious significance:
First and Foremost, Lighting Candle is not alien to our culture nor it is to many people around the world. In fact, it has been a very long tradition and deeply integrated with our religion. Light is conceived as a symbol of divine nature and divine presence by Christianity. The candle is used to represent the light of God in their culture. In Buddhism, the light of the candle is echoed as Buddha’s teaching. Humanist use candle as a symbol of rationalism and reasoning. While slightly variance in the forms, Hindu use Diyo/Diya made from terracotta which holds ghee/oil and wick. Here too, the purpose of lighting is to symbol hope, prosperity, and enlightenment
Also, we use the candle in many memorial events and also during praying. Nowadays, lighting candle has also escaped its religious restriction and are served to represent our solidarity for a cause. This is used to show our support for the movement, causes and also for showing our sympathy over the tragic event.
While there are many ways such an activity can be narrated both in the productive and the futile sense, I find these reasons as strong points to justify lighting of candle:
1. First and foremost, it reflects our opinion over any events that happened. Lighting of candles during Syrian Air Strike sends a strong message to where we stand for. Peace over the war. Be it Paris Attack or Mass shooting at Los Vegas, or suicidal bombing at Brussels, our support through candle lighting sends a strong message that we do not comprehend such action which deprives people’s right to live with dignity, right to life and deprives of one of the basic human needs i.e security.