Back to

A History of the Candle Ceremony
By Marion Hale

Copyright © Best Friends Magazine.
Printed with permission

The Candle Ceremony began on the Prodigy Service, the Dogs Bulletin Board, All pets to Heaven subject.
By coincidence...or fate, a small group of newcomers was drawn to that board during the first months of 1993 to share their grief and fear, and to offer comfort and advice to one another.

Lisa Singer, one of that group, said she lit candles on Monday nights for the "Bridge Babies," and offered to add the names of our pets to her list. Others said they'd like to light candles at the same time. A time was set, a format and non-sectarian prayer were written, and the first Bridge List went up on March 15, 1993.

By the start of Spring, the Candle Ceremony had spread to other online services. In just two weeks, the candle memorial was international. Notes came in from as far away as Japan! The continuing legacy of our pets' unconditional love had united people worldwide. It was a miracle.

The light of the candles still attracts others, the newly bereaved or those remembering beloved pets of long ago. They come to place the names of their furchildren, and many stay, healing themselves as they comfort others. Others return to the board from time to time with stories and memories of happier times with their pets, and remark how much the Candle Ceremony eased their grieving process.

When a human loved one dies a prescribed ritual provides a cushion between the loss and the return to "normal" life. When the loved one is a furbeing society provides no means of closure. For many of us the Candle Ceremony has brought peace, acceptance and the hope of eternal reunion someday in that place "just this side of Heaven" we call Rainbow Bridge.

Marion Hale.