Light is everywhere, the symbol of joy and of life-giving power as darkness is of death and destruction.
The ceremonial use of lights is found in practice in many religions including Christianity. Candles are commonly used to create light. In Christianity the candle is commonly used in worship both for decoration and ambiance as well as a symbol that represents the light of God, specifically the light of Christ.
The alter candle is often placed on the alter, usually in pairs. Candles are also carried in processions, especially to either side of the processional cross. A votive candle or taper may be lit as an accompaniment to prayer. Candles are lit by worshippers in front of icons in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, eastern Catholic and other churches. This is referred to as "offering the candle" because the candle is a symbol of the worshiper offering himself or herself to God. Proceeds from the sale of candles are offerings by faith which go to help the church.
In catholic churches, the use of ceremonial lights fall under three categories: the first one is they may be symbolical of the light of God's presence, of Christ, or of the children of Light in conflict with the powers of darkness, they also be used to express joy on the occasion of great festivals. The second category is they may be votive which means offered as an act of worship to God. They are also used to for the good of men's souls and bodies and for fighting off the confusion of the powers of darkness.
Candles are used in many important Christian events. At every Mass service, there should be at least two lighted tapers on the alter as symbols of the presence at Mass of God and tributes of adoration. The special symbol of the real presence of Christ is the Sanctus candle, which is lighted at the moment of consecration and kept burning until the communion. On Easter eve, three candles are lit and from these the Paschal Candle. This is the symbol of the risen and victorious Christ, and it burns at every solemn service until Ascension Day. During Baptism, the burning Paschal Candle is dipped into the font so that the power of the Holy Ghost may descend into it and make it an effective instrument of regeneration. This is the symbol of baptism as rebirth as children of light.