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.