8

Bracka świeca

Synopsis

Hundreds of candles burn during each service in an Orthodox church. But no candles can compare to those made in Czyże, in the Podlasie region, eastern Poland, where ‘brotherhood candles’ made by local parishioners are used for the most important holidays throughout the year. The custom originated centuries ago. The candle making tradition in the Podlasie region dates back to the 16th century. Initially, forest bee-keeping families made wax candles, and later on church brotherhoods took over from them. The Orthodox parish in Czyże, Podlasie region, is the only location in Poland where Orthodox Belarusians continue making candles to this day. Every day, on 3 December, they make 24 ‘brotherhood candles’. They are used during the most important church holidays. They also accompany the departed until they are lowered into the grave.