It started by pilgrims and other colonial families who settled in New England in Colonial Times. The settlers there realized there was a scarcity of supplies which included even candles. To keep their homes illuminated, they had to collect tallow, which was animal fat obtained by slaughtering animals, to make candles out of it, but later they learned to make candles out of it by gathering bayberry bushels and boiling them for hours. Not all families could afford this luxury all of the time. So, women saved the bayberry candles for Christmas time or other special times of the year. Because this was such a treasured tradition, the legend of the bayberry candle was born.
THE LEGEND OF THE BAYBERRY CANDLE
Wondering about the beginning of the legend of the bayberry candle? Hundreds of years ago, when colonial families settled in New England, they began taking care of the chores that needed to be done to set up their homes.
Most of these chores fell to the women. Women were in charge of making the candles their family would need. The average colonial home would need up to 400 candles to light the home for a year.
BAYBERRY CANDLE HISTORY
As you can imagine, tallow can have quite an odor after it has sat around for several months. In richer families, the women would make their candles from beeswax or bayberry wax because the smell was much nicer than tallow.
Not all families could afford this luxury all of the time. So, women saved the bayberry candles for Christmas time or other special times of the year.
Because this was such a treasured tradition, the legend of the bayberry candle was born.
Bayberry candles have been in North America since Colonial times. Bayberry wax smell was much nicer than tallow and this is likely why they were chosen, as they were a special treat during the holiday season..
The bayberry candle tradition dates back to the early colonial families that settled in New England. Candles used to light their homes were often made with tallow. However, beeswax and bayberry wax were also used, but these candles were considered a luxury. Since families couldn't afford to use bayberry candles year-round, the candles were saved for use during Christmas, or other special times of the year, and the legend of the bayberry candle was born.
Hundreds of years ago, when colonial families settled in New England (Northeastern US), they began taking care of the chores that needed to be done to set up their homes and most of these chores fell to the women. Women were in charge of making the candles their family would need throughout the year. The average colonial home would use up to 400 candles to light the home for a year. And, they would make the candles made from the tallow or animal fat from the animals that were slaughtered during the year.
Tallow was the cheapest, most readily available candle ingredient for the colonists. It smelled awful and smoked terribly especially if it sat around for several months they can turn rancid as well.
Wild bayberry bushes grew everywhere along the Atlantic coast and women soon discovered that the waxy green berries could be boiled into a clear greenish tallow. Bayberry wax was very hard and smelled incredible, a huge improvement over tallow. This wax didn’t melt in the heat of summer and it burned slowly and evenly. Soon, children were sent out to pick berries, and the women developed a nice little business of exporting fragrant bayberry candles back to old England for a tidy profit. The start of the legend of the bayberry candle involved quite a bit of work in colonial times.
Gifting Bayberry Candles to Friends
Often, two friends will exchange a pair of bayberry candles and recite a poem. This too is a significant tradition. The candles are often joined at the wick. During the candle exchange, each would recite the poem. If this good luck tradition is new to you, it’s not too late to buy a pair of bayberry candles and seek out a special friend to do an exchange. May this good luck legend come true for you.
It is American:
-- The early colonists at the Atlantic coast (New England) made their candles with
the waxlike substance produced by the berry-like fruit of the bayberry shrub.
As this wax was not easy to produce and mold, lighting these candles became
restricted to the special time of year between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
-- The good luck idea comes from citing the poem you mention when lighting the candle,
and perhaps from the characteristics of the candle: they were thought to burn longer
and with a more pleasant odor (and with less soot/smoke) than regular candles. It is an
universal old idea that pleasant scents purify and drive away bad things (bad luck,
bad spirits) (cf. incense).
During the age of the first settlers, tallow candles were common and were generally crude and not pleasant. The colonists discovered that a better candle can be made from the local bayberries, but they took a lot of effort to produce.
These Bayberry candles were a real treasure to the colonists who saved them for special occasions - it was a luxury to be saved and relished. Soon, it became tradition to burn your candles on Christmas or New Years Eve to bring blessings of abundance in the upcoming year.
It is supposed to have started in Colonial America. Bayberry candles would be expensive to make as they were made from bayberry pods. The tradition is to burn a bayberry candle to the end starting at the the sight of the first star. You are not to extinguish it but to allow it to burn to the end on its own for the prosperity it can bring.
The tradition developed in Colonial New England, when it was discovered that the waxy green berries of the bayberry bush, which grow along the Atlantic coast, could be boiled down into a clear greenish tallow. Bayberry wax was very hard and smelled incredible, a huge improvement over common tallow
Answer: Hundreds of years ago, when colonial families settled in New England, they began taking care of the chores that needed to be done to set up their homes.To Colonial settlers who arrived on the shores, of the new world, everything was in short supply, including candles. Their candles were normally made of tallow (animal fat) which tended to smoke, give off an odor, and turn rancid.It was discovered that the bayberry bush had berries that would give off a waxy residue when boiled resulting in a sweet smelling wax with a longer, cleaner burn than tallow candles. However, one pound of bayberry wax requires 15 pounds of bayberries, so bayberry candles were considered a luxury and only burned on special occasions.And so it became a tradition to burn bayberry candles on festive days like Christmas or New Years eves to bring blessings of abundance in the coming year; one that continues yet today. The candle should be lit in the evening, when you see the first star appear in the sky. You should not extinguish the candle yourself (bad luck!); it should burn until after midnight down to the nub and go out on its own.
The 5 first answers and winner of a Ibenezer Grinch's chest
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