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What does "votive" mean?

I was curious, where does the word “votive” come from. It’s not just a candle… wow, did I find some fun thing!

Let’s start at the beginning, because it’s kinda neat.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/voveo#Latin

A verb:

voveō ( present infinitive vovēre , perfect active vōvī , supine vōtum ); second conjugation

  1. I vow, promise
  2. I dedicate or devote to a deity.
  3. I wish for, desire.

The reason I wanted to start there is because I see systems. Systems are expressed as patterns, or rather, the human brain sees this, so I do, too. And I have a problem with these modern gods. I’m not going to get into it here, just making a casual observation…

From voveo we add some -īvus and get votivus - Wiktionary, adjective:

vōtīvus ( feminine vōtīva , neuter vōtīvum ); first/second-declension adjective

  1. Of or pertaining to a vow; promised by a vow, given in consequence of a vow; vowed, votive.
  2. Desired, longed or wished for.

However, we also get votum - Wiktionary, noun:

vōtum n ( genitive vōtī ); second declension

  1. promise, dedication, vow
  2. determination, will, desire
  3. prayer

Which of course goes on to become a “vote”.

Church and State, yo. Church and State…

Next we take a jaunt through Middle French with votif and end at votive - Wiktionary, adjective:

votive ( comparative more votive , superlative most votive )

  1. dedicated or given in fulfillment of a vow or pledge
  • She placed a votive offering at the shrine.
  1. Of, expressing or symbolizing a vow. Often used to describe thick cylindrical candles found in many churches, lit when making a private vow or asking a private intention.
  • The church was lit by votive candles.*

Wow, that very cool. Votive is being avowed. :slight_smile:


Okay, here’s two bonuses, because they just tickle me, as well as show how fun Wikipedia can be.

First, there’s this line from Votive candle - Wikipedia, and otherwise fine but kinda dry article:

Lead wicks are unlikely to be found in any candle sold in the U.S. today: lead-core wicks have been banned from the U.S. since 2003, and members of the National Candle Association – which account for more than 90% of candles made in the U.S. – have not used lead wicks for more than 30 years. Reputable manufacturers use cotton, cotton-paper, zinc-core or tin-core wicks, all of which are known to be safe.[9]

Damn dawg, you just have some knowledge dropped on your brain wrinkles!

It’s like, wow, someone really wanted to make this point, after we’ve talked about how all the major Christian sects have few things in common, but all are general “meh-to-supportive” of votive candles.

I love you Wikipedia editors! I jest because I love it.

Now I’m gonna turn you over to an article that knows how to write a frickin’ opening: Votive offering - Wikipedia, which are sometimes candles, but also SO MUCH MORE…

A votive offering or votive deposit is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for religious purposes. Such items are a feature of modern and ancient societies and are generally made in order to gain favor with supernatural forces.

Some offerings have apparently been made in anticipation of the achievement of a particular wish, but in Western cultures from which documentary evidence survives it has been more typical to wait until the wish has been fulfilled before making the offering,[ citation needed ] for which the more specific term ex-voto may be used. Other offerings were very likely regarded just as gifts to the deity, not linked to any particular need.

In Buddhism, votive offering such as construction of stupas was a prevalent and holy practice in Ancient India, an example of which can be observed in the ruins of the ancient Vikramshila University[2] and other contemporary structures. Votive offerings have been described in historical Roman era and Greek sources, although similar acts continue into the present day, for example in traditional Catholic culture and, arguably, in the modern-day practice of tossing coins into a wishing well or fountain. The modern construction practice called topping out can be considered as an example of a votive practice that has very ancient roots.

In archaeology, votive deposits differ from hoards in that although they may contain similar items, votive deposits were not intended for later recovery.

OMFG, I love that opening so much, I’m gonna respond to this one with a break down! Ex-voto!