Once a year, on the first Friday evening of November, Christians in Chanthaburi who have their ancestors buried in the cemetery of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception gather to light the candle for their ancestors. This ceremony is to commemorate the passed away relatives.
The ceremony starts from about 6 pm. when the choirs pray in Vietnamese language, as the ancestors of the Christian community in Chanthaburi were coming from Vietnam. People wearing black costumes visit cemeteries in order to lay flowers and candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. About 7 pm. the priests start to hold a mass and finish around 8 pm. On the next morning at 6 am., this ceremony starts all over again.
The Candle Lighting Ceremony here is not only a religious ceremony, but also a relative gathering event. Some people who had moved to live in other provinces have a chance to go back home to meet the rest of their family at this ceremony. They also lay candles and flowers to other graves which belong to their passed away friends or their friends’ passed away family. Therefore, it’s quite a big reunion at the cemetery.
The date of the Candle Lighting Ceremony is different in each cemetery. For example, in Amphoe Khlung, the Candle Lighting Ceremony is held on the first Saturday evening of November.