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Put simply, candlesticks are a way of communicating information about how price is moving relative to time. Specifically, candles reveal four pieces of information for each time period: the open price for that time period, the close price, the high, and the low.
For instance, on a daily chart, each candle constitutes one day's worth of price activity. The low point on the candle is the lowest that price fell to during the day; the high point is the highest that price went to on that day. The open and close price are communicated by the location of the candle's body as well as what color the candle is.
The subject of candlestick analysis is more easily understood through visualization. See our guide on the subject for an in-depth look at candles and what they reveal about the balance between bulls and bears in the market at the time.