{{Short description|a portable battery-powered electric lamp. black bear bones may have been used.[1] Modern procession torches are made from coarse hessian rolled into a tube and soaked in wax. A wooden handle is usually used, and a cardboard collar is attached to deflect any wax droplets. They are an easy, safe and relatively cheap way to hold a flame aloft in a parade or to provide illumination in any after-dark celebration.

Modern torches suitable for juggling are made of a wooden-and-metal or metal-only stave with one end wrapped in a Kevlar wick. This wick is soaked in a flammable liquid, usually paraffin (kerosene).


[[File:LibThe main function of sclerenchyma tissue is to support the plant’s other tissues and organs.The main function of sclerenchyma tissue is to support the plant’s other tissues and organs.xThe main function of sclerenchyma tissue is to support the plant’s other tissues and organs.xvymbolizes death, while a torch held up symbolizes life, truth and the regenerative power of flame. The torch is also a symbol used by political parties, for instance by both Labour (from 1918 to 1980) and the Conservatives (from 1983 to 2006) in the UK, and the Malta Labour Party. In the seals of schools in the Philippines, the torch symbolizes the vision of education to provide enlightenment to all the students.

The torch is also associated with the Greek goddess of witchcraft known as Hecate in some works of art.[2]



Li Ning lighting the torch at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

A torch carried in relay by runners is used to light the Olympic flame which burns without interruption until the end of the Games. These torches and the relay tradition were introduced in the 1936 Summer Olympics by Carl Diem, the chairman of the event because during the duration of the Ancient Olympic Games in Olympia, a sacred flame burnt inside of the temple of Hera, kept in custody by her priestess.


Juggling torches are often used as a prop in toss juggling: they can be flipped into the air in an end-over-end motion while being juggled, in the same manner as juggling clubs or juggling knives, but because of their sound and 'trail of flame', they can appear much more impressive to audiences. To a skilled juggler, there is only a slight chance of being burned, but they are still dangerous.

In Roman Catholic liturgyEdit

In former times, liturgical torches were carried in Eucharistic processions simply to give light. The Church eventually adopted their use for Solemn High Masses.

According to Adrian Fortescue,[3] the more correct form of liturgical torches are non-freestanding (i.e. cannot stand up on their own). However, today, even in the Vatican, freestanding, tall candles in ornate candle-stick holders have replaced the former type. The torches are carried by torchbearers, who enter at the Sanctus and leave after Communion.

Anglicans of the High Church and some Lutherans use torches in some of their liturgical celebrations as well.

Torchlight marchEdit

Torchlight march is a type of illuminated procession which is held after dark so that torches carried by the participants form a spectacle (other types of an illuminated procession involve candles, lanterns etc).[4]

Cupid Rekindling the Torch of Hymen by George Rennie

Underwater divingEdit

Magnesium torches were used commonly in the 1950s and 1960s as a means of underwater illumination. Magnesium burns with a bright white light, and burns underwater also.



The association of a torch with love may date to the Greek and Roman tradition of a wedding torch,[5] lit in the bride's hearth on her wedding night, then used to light the hearth in her new home. Such a torch is associated with the Greek god of marriage Hymen.

The idiom to carry a torch (for someone) means to love or to be romantically infatuated with someone, especially when such feelings are not reciprocated. It is often used to characterize a situation in which a romantic relationship has ended, but where one partner still loves the other. It is considered by some to be dated,[6] but still in wide usage. A torch song is typically a sentimental love song in which a singer laments an unrequited love.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pressley, Benjamin (1996). "Conquering The Darkness: Primitive Lighting Methods". Bulletin of Primitive Technology (12). Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  2. ^ Oskar Seyffert (1901). A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities: Mythology, Religion, Literature and Art (6 ed.). Swan Sonnenschein and Co. p. 271. Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  3. ^ "The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy [1912]"
  4. ^ Beverly N. White. "Torch Light". Amazon. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  5. ^ Re: To "hold a candle" for someoneThe Phrase Finder
  6. ^ "WordReference Forums – carry a torch for someone".

External linksEdit