Christingle is a Christmas service of carols, prayers and stories for parents and children. Each child receives an orange (to represent the world) decorated with ribbon, sweets and a candle. The highlight of the service is the lighting of the candles. Offerings are donated to The Children’s Society.
Christingle was established by the Moravian Church in 1747 as a symbol of Christ’s light and love, and was introduced by The Children’s Society to The Church of England in 1968. The tradition grew due to churches’ enthusiasm for the simple, powerful symbolism of the Christingle as a way of expressing the Christian message, and the opportunity it gives to encourage donations towards the worthwhile cause of helping make childhood better for all children in the UK.
At the climax of the Christingle service, lights in the church or other venue are dimmed and replaced with the illumination of candlelight, gradually spreading between the candles which crown the Christingles, symbolising Jesus as the Light of the World. The ‘body’ of the Christingle is formed by an orange representing the world, trimmed with a red ribbon indicating the blood of Christ, and four cocktail sticks bearing dried fruit or sweets to signify the fruits of the four seasons. Most Christingle celebrations take the form of a church service but they can also take place at schools or other community venues.