Ceremony: Boy Scout Court of Honor

NM is a USC student who was born and raised in Los Angeles. Here he describes his experience with the Boy Scout Court of Honor ceremonies he attended as a child:

NM.) Once a month, we had a court of honor, where — or maybe it was every few months — every six months, actually, where, basically, whatever advancement each boy scout earned would be given there. And we rented out a room at a center by the city, and parents and all of them would sit in audience chairs, and boys would stand at the front, and it would go from lowest rank to highest rank — Eagle Scout. And there would be the standard stuff, like, in the book that they earned each rank, and there would also be numerical stuff, like “Oh, this scout hiked 500 miles.” And they would also do parent achievements, like if the dad was, like, going with the kid, he would also get 500 miles. And the Eagle Scout celebration had, um, it had three candles– I forget what they represented. One was honesty or truth. One was– I forget. But they would light them. Actually, it might have been the number of the boy scout traits– a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, all the way through there. They would light one candle at a time and say, like, a trait. Like, “A scout is trustworthy,” and give an example of how the new Eagle Scout exemplified that trait, and go through the candle list. And then the Eagle Scout would give their dad a pin and their mom, like, a flower. And there was, like, a scripted speech that the troop leader would give that was just, like, generic for each scout. Oh, and there was also just like a photo reel of, like, all the different hikes and events the troop went on during that scout’s experience. 


This seems like a fairly standard instance of the Boy Scout Troop Court of Honor ceremony. Official details for such an event can be found here: 


The most interesting part of the ceremony is the lighting of candles, an act that could be considered ritualistic magic. Candles are used in religion very frequently, as seen in Hinduism and Judaism, among many others, and here NM was referring to their use as described in the link above:

On my honor I will do my bestty and to obey the Scout Law, (without pause, the first candle is lit) to help other people at all times, (without pause, the second candle is lit) to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight, (the third candle is lit and the spirit of Scouting candle is returned to its holder.)


Candles here seem to be ritually lit to fortify and signify the values of the Boy Scouts. This could be viewed as a form of magic.