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Still a certain freedom is left of lighting more candles on occasions of solemnity.Six candles should also be lighted at Vespers and Lauds when the Office is sung on great feasts, but on less solemn occasions two or four suffice.At a baptism a burning candle is put into the hand of the catechumen or of the godfather as representing the infant.It is not lawful to say Mass without lighted candles, and if the candles are in danger of being blown out by the wind they must be protected by lanterns.The rubrics of the "Roman Missal " direct that at the Sanctus, even of any private Mass, an additional candle should be lighted and should burn until after the Communion of the priest.This rubric however is much neglected in practice even in Rome itself.As regards material, the candles used for liturgical purposes should be of beeswax.This is adhered to on account probably of its symbolic reference to the flesh of Christ, as already explained.
These candles were placed upon the pavement of the sanctuary and not until much later upon the altars.
Still the practice of setting candles upon the table of the altar itself seems to be somewhat older than the twelfth century.
As the Roman pontiff , according to the "Ordines", was preceded by seven acolytes carrying candles, and as these candles at a later period were placed upon the altar and no longer upon the pavement, it is a tempting hypothesis to identify the six altar-candlesticks of an ordinary high Mass (there are seven when the bishop of the diocese pontificates) with the acolytes' candlesticks of the Roman "Ordines".
We must not forget that most of these adjuncts to worship, like music, lights, perfumes, ablutions, floral decorations, canopies, fans, screens, bells, vestments, etc.
were not identified with any idolatrous cult in particular; they were common to almost all cults.