Christingles: Discovering the Heartwarming History

Unraveling the Origins, Symbolism, and Global Impact of a Cherished Christmas Tradition

The Christingle tradition is a unique and heartwarming aspect of the Christian faith, celebrated worldwide during the Advent and Christmas seasons. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history, symbolism, and modern adaptations of Christingles.


The Origin of Christingles

The history of Christingles dates back to the 18th century in the Moravian Church, a Protestant denomination with roots in the modern-day Czech Republic.


The Moravian Church

The Moravian Church, also known as the Unitas Fratrum or Unity of the Brethren, was founded in 1457 by followers of Jan Hus. The church emphasizes simplicity, faith, and community, which are evident in its Christingle celebrations.


John de Watteville

In 1747, John de Watteville, a Moravian bishop, created the first Christingle in Marienborn, Germany. He wanted a simple yet powerful way to convey the message of Jesus’ love to children. The Christingle ceremony has since become a beloved and meaningful part of Advent and Christmas celebrations.

The Symbolism of Christingles

Each element of a Christingle carries significant symbolism representing various aspects of the Christian faith.

The Orange

The orange represents the world, reminding us of God’s creation and love for all living beings.


The Red Ribbon

A red ribbon encircles the orange, symbolizing the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for the salvation of humanity.


The Four Cocktail Sticks

Four cocktail sticks are inserted into the orange, pointing in four directions to represent the four corners of the earth. These sticks hold various fruits and sweets, signifying God’s abundant blessings and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.


The Fruits and Sweets

Fruits and sweets placed on the sticks symbolize God’s generosity and the good things He provides for His followers.


The Candle

A candle is placed in the center of the orange, representing Jesus as the Light of the World, shining hope and love to all people.

Christingle Celebrations

Christingle celebrations have evolved over the years, incorporating both traditional and modern elements.


Traditional Services

Traditional Christingle services often take place in churches during the Advent season. Participants receive a Christingle, sing hymns, and reflect on the meaning of each element. The service typically concludes with the lighting of the candles, symbolizing the spread of Jesus’ light and love throughout the world.


Modern Adaptations

Today, Christingle celebrations have adapted to include various creative approaches. Some churches hold outdoor events, while others incorporate contemporary music and multimedia presentations. The focus remains on the powerful message of Jesus’ love and sacrifice, transcending cultural and generational boundaries.

Christingle and Charity

Christingle celebrations have become closely associated with charitable giving and acts of kindness, particularly in support of children in need.


The Children’s Society

In the United Kingdom, the Children’s Society, a charity organization supporting vulnerable children, has been associated with Christingle celebrations since 1968. The partnership aims to raise funds and awareness for the organization’s mission to improve the lives of disadvantaged children. Many Christingle services encourage attendees to make donations to the Children’s Society or other local charities, fostering a spirit of giving and compassion during the Christmas season.


Global Impact

The charitable aspect of Christingle celebrations has spread worldwide, with churches and communities using the event to support various causes. From providing food and clothing to impoverished families to funding education and healthcare initiatives, Christingle celebrations inspire acts of generosity and kindness in the name of Jesus.



The history of Christingles is a testament to the enduring power of simple yet profound symbols in conveying the message of Jesus’ love and sacrifice. From its origins in the Moravian Church to its continued evolution and global impact, the Christingle tradition unites Christians in a shared celebration of faith, hope, and charity. As we gather to create and share Christingles, we are reminded of the importance of spreading light, love, and compassion in a world that so desperately needs it.


  1. What is the origin of Christingles? The first Christingle was created in 1747 by John de Watteville, a Moravian bishop, in Marienborn, Germany.
  2. What is the purpose of Christingle celebrations? Christingle celebrations aim to convey the message of Jesus’ love and sacrifice through the symbolic elements of a Christingle, as well as promote acts of charity and kindness.
  3. What are the main components of a Christingle? A Christingle consists of an orange, a red ribbon, four cocktail sticks, fruits and sweets, and a candle.
  4. What does each part of a Christingle symbolize? The orange represents the world, the red ribbon symbolizes the blood of Jesus, the four cocktail sticks signify the four corners of the earth and God’s blessings, the fruits and sweets symbolize God’s generosity, and the candle represents Jesus as the Light of the World.
  5. How are Christingle celebrations associated with charity? Christingle celebrations often encourage charitable giving, particularly in support of children in need. In the United Kingdom, the Children’s Society has been associated with Christingle services since 1968, raising funds and awareness for vulnerable children.

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