The Peace Candle is a well-known symbol of love and harmony around the world. For this reason, the Peace Candle is traditionally used as a Christmas decoration in homes in both America and abroad. The following three Peace Candles, however, are not found in homes. They are giant structures more than 100 feet tall that dominate the skylines of small towns in the United States and Germany. Their stories are both heartwarming and fascinating.
#1. The Peace Candle
Put together every Christmas season, the Easton Peace Candle is certainly a sight to behold. For nearly 60 years, people from all over the country have come to lay eyes on one of the largest Peace Candle s in the world.
First erected in 1951, the Easton Peace Candle has been put up nearly every year since. The Peace Candle being used today is not the original, but is the third generation of Peace Candles. It is said that the Easton candle is the largest non-wax Christmas candle in the United States. The central candle stands about 98 feet tall but the base brings the total height of the structure itself to a little more than 106 feet, but because it rests upon a monument the height from the top of the candle's flame to the ground is 118 feet. The flame at the top of the candle is about 16 feet tall and is lit by more than 30 bulbs. The three generations of candles have been manufactured out of anything from fiberglass to steel to plywood.
The Easton Peace Candle was built atop a Civil War monument due to its symbolism for peace and harmony. Because of this, many anti-war protests have been held at the Peace Candle site since its construction. During the Vietnam war, a group of protestors asked that the candle remain standing until the war had ended. Although it was considered, leaving the candle up all year was too much of a liability for the city and it was taken down as scheduled on February 1st. In 1991, however, city officials did elect to leave the Peace Candle standing until the Gulf War was over. The candle was decorated with yellow ribbons and left erect until March of that year.
#2. The Peace Candle of the World
Another example of a non-wax Christmas peace candle structure is the Peace Candle of the World located in Scappoose, Oregon. Symbolizing the world's desire for peace, the Peace Candle of the World is made from traditional wax-like substances that are designed to hold up to weather and temperature.
The Peace Candle of the World was built outside of a candle factory in 1971 and was created by covering a silo with red wax as an advertisement for a dairy farm and factory. The wax was changed with the seasons; red was used for Christmas and multiple colors were used in the fall. Real wax is no longer used, and the silo is covered with a synthetic wax-like material. It stands about 50 feet tall and is about 18 feet wide, and at one time the candle was lit with a custom-made 60-foot match by town officials. President Nixon was asked to light the candle but regretfully declined due to prior engagements. Due to the rising cost and depletion of fossil fuels, the town council at some point voted to replace the real flame with lit plastic parts, and the Peace Candle of the World remains lit year-round.
At one time, the Peace Candle of the World held the world record for the world's largest candle, but was lost to a 127-foot candle featured in Stockholm, Sweden at the General Art and Industrial Exhibition. Even though the candle no longer holds the title of world's largest, residents of Scappoose and the surrounding areas see their candle as the best in the world. Because this area of Scappoose continues to expand, the residents are becoming fearful that their landmark will be taken down in favor of development. Many peaceful protests have occurred because of this, but as of today, there are no direct threats to the survival of the candle structure.
#3. Schlitz Christmas Candle
The Town of Schlitz in Hesse, Germany
Thought to be the largest non-wax Christmas candle in the world, the Schlitz Christmas Candle dominates the sky in Schlitz, located in eastern Hesse, Germany. Before the Schlitz Christmas Candle was created in 1991, that record was held by the Easton Peace Candle in Pennsylvania. The Schlitz Christmas Candle continues to grow in popularity and is one of Germany's most popular tourist attractions.
The Schlitz Christmas Candle is created by covering a 138-foot tower, the largest tower in the middle of town ,with an enormous red drape. An electric flame is then placed at the very top of the tower, giving viewers the very distinct image of a giant Christmas candle. The Schlitz Christmas candle has been an annual tradition since November 28, 1991, and is the site of the town's annual Christmas Market. The creation of the candle has drawn tourists from all over the world, and the Christmas Market grows to support the demand each year. Activities, entertainment, and a large number of vendors continue to make the Christmas season profitable for this part of Germany.
The tower used to create the Schlitz Christmas Candle is full of history. Named the Hinterturm, it was built in the 14th century and is the lone surviving tower of a castle that has since been torn down. Even before the Christmas Candle, tourists traveling throughout Europe would come to see the Hinterturm tower. In recent years, an elevator was installed in the center of the tower to take guests to the very top for an unsurpassed view of the town of Shlitz and it's surroundings, which are especially beautiful during the Christmas season.
Peace candles are a worldwide symbol for the unity and harmony of mankind and the Earth. A standing tradition in these three towns and all over the globe, non-wax peace candle structures will surely continue to spring up in many more countries.