That's interesting, Pro. Since the Slovenes and Italians are neighbors, and there are a lot of Italian and Friulian expressions that have made their way into Slovene, I would not have expected the same idiom to have such radically different meanings. I wonder how many faux pas have been committed in the border regions around Trieste and Gorizia.
Ruzuzu, the similarity is not surprising; the Baltic and Slavic languages are fairly close cousins.
lit. "to hold a candle for someone": to expect that someone who is sick will die soon: "… so mati tako oslabeli, da smo jim že držali svečo" (A. Ingolič, "Splavar Franc Vitužnik") / "… Mother had gotten so weak, we knew she didn't have long to live."