It was on Christmas Eve in the year 1748 when servants for the first time handed burning candles to each guest as a symbol for the advent of Christ. A painting that captures the moment is part of the collection of the Herrnhut archives.
The community in Berlin-Rixdorf revives this tradition and joins on the first sunday of advent to prepare the lights for Christmas Eve. Small white candles are wrapped in coloured paper. In the beginning the candles were wrapped in red paper symbolising the blood of Christ and this is still the case in Herrnhut, but in Rixdorf the colours used are green, gold and white.
On Christmas Eve during the love-feast for the children two sisters bring a tray with the burning candles and distribute them among the children. To bring this candle back home after mass while it is still burning is a huge challenge – and one that probably no child has ever mastered.