all taken from wikipedia
Ner Tamid in Judaism
A sanctuary lamp, chancel lamp, altar lamp, everlasting light, or eternal flame is a light that shines before the altar of sanctuaries in many Jewish places of worship. Hanging or standing in front of the ark in every Jewish synagogue … it symbolizes God’s eternal presence and is therefore never extinguished.
The eternal light is central to one of many stories behind the celebration of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. When the ancient Maccabees rebelled and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem, they rekindled the eternal light. However, there was only enough oil to keep the flame burning for one day, and it took eight days to bring new oil. Miraculously, according to the story as recounted in the Talmud, the flame continued to burn until the new oil arrived.
Today, Jewish celebrations of Hanukkah include the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah (Hanukkiyah), which has nine branches: including one for the candle used to light the eight flames (candles or wicks in oil), recalling the story.
The Eternal Flame in Christianity
Christian churches often have at least one lamp continually burning before the tabernacle, not only as an ornament of the altar, but for the purpose of worship. The sanctuary lamp, also called a chancel lamp, is placed before the tabernacle or aumbry in Roman Catholic churches as a sign that the Lord is present.
The practice of an eternal flame has been going on for a very long time, across the globe.
In ancient Iran the atar was tended by a dedicated priest and represented the concept of “divine sparks” or Amesha Spenta, as understood in Zoroastrianism. Period sources indicate that three “great fires” existed in the Achaemenid era of Persian history, which are collectively considered the earliest reference to the practice of creating ever-burning community fires. In general usage, the term Amesha Spenta denotes all bounteous and holy divinities that furthered or strengthened creation. In this sense, Amesha Spenta may therefore be considered equivalent to the term Yazata, referring to any spirit worthy of worship.
The Cherokee Nation maintained a fire at the seat of government until ousted by the Indian Removal Act in 1830. At that time, embers from the last great council fire were carried west to the nation’s new home in the Oklahoma Territory. The flame, maintained in Oklahoma, was carried back to the last seat of the Cherokee government at Red Clay State Park in south-eastern Tennessee, to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina, and to the Cherokee Nation Tribal Complex in Talequah, Oklahoma.
In China, it has at times been common to establish an eternally lit lamp as a visible aspect of ancestor veneration; it is set in front of a spirit tablet on the family’s ancestral altar.
Eternal Flame for Remembrance
A flame is widely accepted as a symbol of eternal life. An eternal flame at a war or other memorial symbolizes a nation’s perpetual gratitude towards, and remembrance of, its war dead, or those who have died to be remembered.
How many eternal flames are burning today and where are they located?
Those who have 1: Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, England, Finland, Georgia, Ghana, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Switzerland, Transnistria, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Zimbabwe
Those who have 2: Azerbaijan Baku, Belarus, Brazil, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Philippines, Portugal, Spain,
Those who have 3: Argentina, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa
Cuba has no less than 4
Canada – no less than 5
Australia – no less than 6
India – no less than 7
U.S.A. – no less than 22
Russia no less than 30
An eternal flame is a flame, lamp or torch that burns continuously for an indefinite period. Some are natural phenomena caused by natural gas leaks, peat fires and coal seam fires, all of which can be initially ignited by lightning, *piezoelectricity or human activity, some of which have burned for thousands of years.
*Piezoelectricity is the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials (such as crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matter such as bone, DNA and various proteins) in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure and latent heat. It is derived from the Greek word πιέζειν; piezein, which means to squeeze or press, and ἤλεκτρον ēlektron, which means amber, an ancient source of electric charge. French physicists Jacques and Pierre Curie discovered piezoelectricity in 1880.
Ones fueled by natural gas are found in Turkey, the States of New York and Washington in the US, Taiwan, India’s Himalayas, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Indonesia.
Ones fueled by coal seams include, “Burning Mountain” in Australia which has been burning for 6,000 years! Two are found in Pennsylvania, US, that started as mine fires. A coal field fire in Jharia, India, has been burning for almost a century.
The following youtube names even more of these “eternal flames”: