My parish, and many others, have the tradition of laypeople holding candles during the reading of the Gospel and during the Great Entrance.
During the Gospel Reading, 2 women hold candles and stand on the left (if looking towards the Altar) and 2 men on the right. This is traditionally the sides the men and women stand in church (although these days it is not adhered to so strictly anymore).
During the Great Entrance, men hold all 4 candles - standing on either side.
My question is...why are women not allowed to hold candles during the Great Entrance? Is this just a dinosaur tradition from old days? Is this just something someone at the parish thought up 50 years ago?
On major Feast days, when there are many children around, I ask the starosta if I can pass out the candles, and I give them to the kids. Often times, there are way more girls than boys, and sometimes, I do not have 4 boys...so, I give the candles to the girls, as well. I figure if someone yells at me, I will try to explain they are all children and equal in the sight of God.
I have seen both men and women holding candles during the Great Entrance at other parishes.
Is there some restriction that you know of?
I'm only bringing this up because I have been asked to make a sign up sheet, for people who wish to hold candles, to sign. Usually, the starosta merely hands the candles to whomever....but, I guess someone has complained that they never get to hold one...so, now the sign up sheet.
I'm curious if anyone has any history or reason why people even hold candles during these particular moments of the Liturgy.