The lighting of the Easter Candle seems to have originated in the ancient daily ritual of Lucernare ("lightning of the lamps"), as darkness fell. The tradition of lighting candles held by people present began in Rome in the early centuries. There the dark of night at the Easter Vigil was filled with cnadles symbolic of the resurrected Christ. In the Frankish kingdom, further symbolish was added to the Easter Candle. A cross is cut or traced into it with the proclamation: "Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end," adding the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, "Alpha and Omega." The numbers of the current year are added in the four angles of the crossbars with the proclamation: "All time belongs to him and all the ages; to him be glory and power through every age forever. Amen." Four grains of incense, sealed with wax red nails, are inserted at the ends of the crossbars, and one is inserted where the crossbars meet with the words: "By his holy... and glorious wounds... may Christ our Lord ... guard us... and keep us. Amen.
[Source: Supplement to the Sunday Bulletin of February 3, 2008; St. Paul Parish, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.]