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Bayberry Candle Legend
Posted On 11/15/2010 10:27:33 by TouchedPainter

 

Authentic Bayberry Candle, Poem and Legend

 

 

Legend of the Bayberry Candle Poem


This bayberry candle comes from a friend,
so on Christmas eve burn it down to the end.
For a bayberry candle burned to the socket,
will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.

I saw a poll about the Bayberry Candle, I was born in Boston & spent a lot of time at relatives on the Cape (Cod), practically raised there. So I have blindly practiced the Bayberry legend, but the poll prompted me to research the roots. And this is what I found:

    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. They 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. They learned to collect and save the bayberry wax that would rise to the surface of the water and make them into taper candles. The bayberry tapers burned longer and cleaner than the tallow version. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of bayberries to make enough wax to make a single taper. 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.

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.

    According to James C. O'Connell, author of "Becoming Cape Cod," the significance of bayberry candles had a resurgence in the early 1900s. Following in the footsteps of early colonial women, Mabel Kimball Baker began making bayberry candles in her kitchen. By 1926, her candle business, Colonial Candle Company had grown in popularity and once more the bayberry candle was an important symbol of the holidays and the rich history of New England.
     According to colonial folklore, sweethearts who are separated at Christmas should light bayberry candles to be united by the candle's gentle aroma.
     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. According to Magick Wyrd Witchcraft, they can be used in rituals and spells during the holidays to bring good luck into the following year.
     Light your bayberry candle on the eve of your holiday of choice and allow it to burn completely until it goes out on it's own, as shortly after midnight as possible. After midnight, the closer to midnight it burns out on it's own, the more prosperous one will be in the new year. If it goes out before midnight, you have only enjoyed a very expensive candle.        

There there is always next year to try again.

Many people will tell you nothing can replace the smell of a bayberry candle nor the myth of what they can do. If you have never tried bayberry candles, you do not know what you are missing.

This holiday, look for taper candles made with genuine bayberry wax. The sweet, grassy aroma is a pleasant holiday fragrance. Burn one taper on Christmas Eve and/or New Year's Eve, and ring in a new year of health, wealth and prosperity!

Just make sure the candle & holder is in a non breakable and non burnable container, and the container is on a non scorchable surface, just in case you fall asleep before midnight. Actually a deep, non breakable container with water in the bottom, is a good choice. 

Have a safe (and prosperous) Holiday Season

Tags: Bayberry NewYear BayberryCandle



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Viewing 1 - 8 out of 8 Comments

01/04/2011 12:03:28

Hi again,  This New Year's Day my bayberry candle burned completely, only about 3/4" of wick left.  Nothing else.  I've had them burn down to a little wax left in the holder and the wick, but never just a wick.  Looking forward to a wonderful year.



12/01/2010 22:18:02

I put the poll on how many burn bayberry candles over the holiday.  Quite surprised that most of the voters had never heard of them or the tradition.  My mother always burned a bayberry candle on New Year's Day as long as can remember.  Since having my own home I have followed the tradition.  First thing on rising on New Year's Day, I light the candle and let it burn throughout the day.  The saying I know is, "Bayberry candles burned to the socket, bring health to the home and wealth to the pocket". 


Each year they are more difficult to find, have had to resort to the internet to buy them.  They are also getting quite expensive. 


BTW.  The bayberries used for the candles grow on a bush, not a tree.  They are small greenish white berries.    



11/16/2010 13:22:41

Hmmmm - wonder if we can buy them in NZ - must start hunting.   I have a huge Bay Tree of my own - now I'll have to start harvesting the berries......Oh Dear - sounds like a lot of hard work - the tree is very tall..  . . . . thanks for the Legend, it's always good to know and understand the reasons for various traditional practices.   Have Happy and Fun Filled Festive Season.................Christmas Hugs - Rose



11/16/2010 05:50:45

There is nothing nicer than the scent of bayberry.



11/15/2010 22:34:23

Thank you, Clint...for the legend and the information.  15!  pounds of bayberries...yikes!  I don't I've ever smelled a bayberry candle.  I wonder if the scent would bother my allergies/


Eehugs, Kath





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