Many people who visit cemeteries to remember their loved ones who have passed away light candles. Solar candles can be a safer, longer lasting alternative to traditional wax or soy candles that rely on consistent, fair weather to remain lit. Modern solar candles have become brighter and more reliable than earlier versions.
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Solar candles currently use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, to produce their light instead of filaments. The LED lights last longer---up to 100,000 hours---and will even work during the winter when there is less sunlight. There are some solar candles that have amber tinted LEDs or will flicker like an actual candle. These kinds of lights are easy to move and will work no matter what the weather is like.
Solar candles are also safer than real candles, which can cause some air pollution. Real candles release small amounts of smoke while burning. Scented candles release more soot and pollutants into the air than unscented candles. Many candles are also paraffin-based, and as a petroleum byproduct paraffin is not safe to release into the air. If the candle has a lead wick, it will release lead into the air while burning. U.S. candlemakers aren't permitted to use lead but candles from other countries may still include it in their wicks.
Each cemetery has its own rules about how visitors can use the cemetery and decorate gravesites. There are usually approved times when people can visit the cemetery, prohibited behaviours while visiting and policies about what types of decorations can be left at gravesites. Before you use solar candles at your loved one's grave, check with the main office or the caretaker of the cemetery. The cemetery may prohibit all use of solar candles or lights of any kind. If the cemetery does allow such items, it might restrict the size or type of solar candle you're allowed to use.
Select a solar candle of the size and type that works best with your loved one's grave site. If the headstone has a ledge, you may be able to fit smaller solar candles along the edge. Gravestones flush with the ground may benefit from solar candles staked into the grass itself. Check back periodically to see whether the candle is still working or whether it needs to be replaced.
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