History of candlelight ceremonies:

Candlelight ceremonies began in the Netherlands as a means to offer thanks   and to honour those who liberated the country and its people from German occupation during the Second World War.

In 1995, the people of the Netherlands held a special ceremony to commemorate their liberation by Canadian forces fifty years earlier. Dutch children placed lit candles on the graves of Canadian soldiers and the candles remained lit overnight in silent tribute. Residents were drawn to the cemeteries by the soft red glow of the candles burning in the dark. As a result, commemorative candlelight tributes have now become annual ceremonies in the Netherlands and other European countries.

Similar tributes take place across Canada in both public and private cemeteries and commemorative monuments. The tributes serve the purpose of encouraging youth, families, Veterans and Canadian Forces (CF) members to interact with one another, an important feature of the commemorative event.

The goal of candlelight ceremonies:

  • To indicate to families and brothers in arms that we remember their loved ones
  • To raise awareness about  these Soldiers who first and foremost served our country
  • To offer guests an occasion to participate in a tribute for Soldiers

Lise A Charron