Lighting candles to commemorate, to contemplate, is not new. But in the Netherlands we see a kind of revival of candle lighting ceremonies in and around cemeteries. Events are organized like All Souls Day, World Wide Candle Lighting and Floating memories. Recently candle ceremonies are also held at war cemeteries and on individual war graves, on Christmas eve. Calls have been put out (often through Facebook and other media) to light a candle at a grave of choice and leave it burning for one night (and clean up the next day).
I spent Christmas eve at the Canadian war cemetery in Groesbeek (NL) where children from the local schools lighted 2617 candles, one on each grave. And as it was quite windy on top of the hill (zevenheuvelenweg) it was not easy to keep the candles burning. Although the mayor held a passionate speech about peace, freedom and sacrifice, the children’s main concern was to keep their candle safe from the wind and keep them burning. When darkness fell it was quite impressive what simple candle lights can do.
All pictures were taken at 24 December 2016 @Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek