This year, however, he says he’ll make do with whatever he has, despite having placed an order for two big candles.With the lockdown making clergymen celebrate masses in private and take to live streaming, it remains to be seen if the Easter candle will be part of their vigil service as candle makers across TN are at their wits end over orders.
Father Paul Britto explains that the paschal candle is a ‘major candle used at the altar’. It is a symbolic [representation] of how Christ is everything, from the beginning till the end.” “Pascha means from darkness to light, signifying the passover. This is a feast usually celebrated by Jews. It is during this time that Christ suffered the Passion and on the third day of the paschal feast, he was risen. That day represents light for us,” the PRO for the Archbishop of Madurai added.
About arrangements in the current situation, Fr Britto said, “This time it’s a historic break for us. However, priests will celebrate Easter privately and bless the candle. When the situation is normal, we will keep it in the church.” While he states that priests do stock up on the paschal candle early in the year, John Rajan of PS John Candles in Madurai rues that he has stock worth Rs 7 lakh waiting to be delivered. The 53-year-old man recounts how even last Saturday a few local priests collected candles from him. Jegan Jose of Sahayamatha Candles in Kanniyakumari says his company couldn’t manufacture it this time owing to the lockdown.
The candle variety can be as tall as 9 feet and weigh 75 kg, Jose said, adding, the product has a shelf life of around a year, thus ensuring it can be lit for masses celebrated over a period of 50 days from Easter. When asked what the paschal candle means to the congregation, John Fernandes (57), a member of St. Theresa’s church in Sembiam, said, “Suppose if we go and find no paschal candle at the altar, we will miss the experience of the light of the world.” While pointing to how a delay in delivery will be akin to sending something for Christmas late, Rajan said if their efforts to deliver become futile, he would have no option but to preserve the undelivered products till next year.