For us, lighting the candles sets the dinner hour apart from the rest of day. It is a time for conversation and relaxation; a time for paying attention to each other, not to the distractions of life. Candle light is romantic. It warms and softens skin tones, and softly shadows and highlights hair and eyes. It doesn't glare and makes food look appetizing, sending intriguing glints through wine and onto silverware. It encourages us to linger and enjoy each other .
Then with the ritual snuffing out of the candles, everyday life returns, and the washing up.