Bayberry Candles: An American Tradition
When the first settlers arrived on our shores, every moment was one of survival. Everything was in short supply including candles. Generally candles were made of tallow (animal fat) which tend to smoke and give off an odor which can turn rancid as well. It didn’t take long for the early colonists to discover that the abundant bayberry bush had berries that would give off a waxy residue when boiled.
Colonial women learned to collect and save the bayberry wax that would rise to the surface of the water and make them into taper candles. This began the tradition of boiling the berries of the bayberry bush only to discover a sweet smelling wax with a long clean burn. One pound of Bayberry wax requires 15 pounds of bayberries, so bayberry candles were only burned on special occasions in colonial times. These bayberry tapers were a real treasure to the colonists who saved them for special occasions.
To have a bayberry candle was a luxury to be saved and relished. It became the tradition to burn your bayberry candle on Christmas or New Years eve to bring blessings of abundance in the coming year. It is not known who actually came up with the traditional bayberry candle poem. But the tradition continues to this day.
It is believed that you should light your bayberry candle on the eve of your holiday of choice and allow it to burn completely to the nub. Our bayberry tapers have about a 6-8 hour burn time so please allow enough time for it to burn itself out before bedtime.
These real hand-dipped bayberry tapers are a unique and creative Christmas gift for co-workers and teachers. Sharing the bayberry Christmas tradition is a very thoughtful gift that expresses your wish to someone that you wish them an abundance of joy, happiness, good luck and prosperity in the coming year. The old saying goes: “For a bayberry candle burned to the socket brings joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.”