When I was younger I was a huge fan of a German singer and songwriter called Reinhard Mey. He creates songs that show problems in society and politics with a lot of humour and compassion for his fellow humans.
On one of his concerts, he mentioned the tradition of putting a candle in the window to help travellers find their way home. I suspect it was a tradition still alive after the war in Germany when soldiers often still had to came home after a long absence and also refugees from former German parts as well as the former GDR needed to find a home.
I wasn’t aware that it is a much more widespread tradition: For example, it was used in Ireland while it was occupied by the British to show catholic priests that their parishioners would offer them food and a roof over their head. The catholic church was persecuted as the British mainly were protestant.
It is also a symbol for family and home as in the olden days a candle or the fireplace was the only source of light where the family gathered around. (source: eHow)
When I left my ex-partner I was homeless and a friend of mine gave me a roof over my head even though she and her husband didn’t know me that well then. It was like a candle in the window that showed me a light and the way out of a very dark situation. I did not want to be too much of a bother so I moved to a campsite for the summer.
My husband and I got closer in those days and I spent more and more time at his place which gave me the same feeling of a candle in the window. About a year after I left my ex I wrote this poem about the whole experience. (No, my husband did not have a cat and we still do not have one but I would love to have one again 🙂 )
Home at last
in the window
leads my way.
A curled up
cat in front
of the fire
home at last!