The tradition of burning a candle in the window

"There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle" – Robert Alden

Placing a burning candle in one's window is a common tradition that dates back to colonial times. Candle light often evokes the warmth of home and family. The fireplace was center of family life in days gone by, and thus the candle was generally lit from that fire.   

The candle was often placed in the window when a member of the family was away. The lit candle was also placed in the window as a sign of good news or as a beacon to weary travelers. Candles also represented friendship and were seen as a sign of welcome to others. 

In early America, homes were often miles apart. The sight of a candle in a window from a distance was a sign of "welcome" to those wishing to visit. Many people today only associate candles in the window as a Christmas tradition. Yet, look around our community at night, and you will see electric candles placed in the windows of more and more homes during all seasons of the year.  

In keeping with this rich tradition, the Westlake Historical Society has placed electric candles in the windows of the historic Clague House Museum located at 1371 Clague Rad. The next time you drive by the Clague House, it is our hope you might stop and imagine how welcoming this sight was for a traveler seeking to visit the Clague family so many years ago.  

Lysa Stanton

Westlake Historical Society

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:35 PM, 03.06.2012