Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bayberry Candle Making Day

Steeped in American history, bayberry candles have been given as gifts of prosperity and friendship for centuries. While the main significance of the bayberry candle is its historical tie to good wishes for the new year, bayberry candles have religious and cultural significance as well.

Colonial women discovered that boiling the berries of the bayberry bush resulted in a sweet smelling wax with a clean burn. Legend has it that the group of women who discovered bayberry wax started the colonial tradition of giving bayberry candles as Christmas Gifts.

According to colonial folklore, sweethearts who are separated at Christmas should light bayberry candles to be united by the candle's gentle aroma. In addition, burning a gifted bayberry candle down to the end on Christmas Eve will bring luck and good fortune for the following year.

"A bayberry candle burned to the socket, brings joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.'"

Many Christians believe that the light of the bayberry candle on Christmas Eve will welcome the Christ child into their homes. Legend states that the Bay Tree sheltered the holy family during a storm and as a result lightning will never strike it. Neo-pagans burn the bayberry candle for prosperity and happiness on Yule or the Winter Solstice.

For the settlers, bayberry candles signified the special pleasures of Christmastime and they still do today. One pound of bayberry wax requires 15 pounds of bayberries. In addition, the process of extracting the wax is time consuming and difficult. Bayberry wax is made by boiling the berries then repeatedly skimming the wax from the top. Because of this tedious process, bayberry candles were only burned on special occasions during colonial times. They were valued for their delicate scent, but also for their rarity.

My whole house is filled with the traditional scent of the holidays as I pour these candles.
While I offer a small number of these for sale in my shop, they're mostly made for special friends & family.


  1. I would love to come visit the barn of soap. I imagine a warm, cozy barn. Wish we were close. I think I have to order some bayberry candles off Etsy. Have a great holiday! I am knee deep in gourds! Wendy

  2. Thanks Wendy. People come into the barn & always ask " What exactly is the smell in here?" A fragrant bouquet of soy candles, 25 varieties of soap curing on open shelves, beeswax, bayberry, essential oils,pellet stove, incense and OLD BARN.
    Warm, cozy, peaceful..just the place to have a cup of tea with friends you've just met. ( I wish we were closer too.)I will list a few pairs on etsy. Happy Holidays & Happy Gourding!

  3. I love the smell of bayberry! A friend makes soap in that scent - it's amazing!

  4. These are true bayberry wax, which has a wonderful fragrance & color on its own. Its mixed with a small amt of beeswax ( bayberry is very brittle & dosent make a nice candle alone) and thats it!
    Dosent get much more natural than that!

    I do Bayberry soap also, and you're right, its a wonderful-woodsy scent. Happy Holidays!

  5. Sounds like a tea party demo to me...hint hint...

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