Those are most likely all male flowers, will produce lots of pollen, then dry up and fall off. Female flowers are larger, same shape as the mature pine cone, and are generally few in number. Because candles with lots of male flowers tend to be really elongated, leggy, most people remove the entire candle if the tree is healthy enough. But if you want to see the whole progression, keep it. Cut it off when you do your pruning & styling work.