It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

Author Unknown

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chapter 12, Page 12, Book 11

Legend of the Bayberry Candle 

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.


One thing I have done for many years is to give a set of Bayberry Candles to many of my family and friends.  I include the legend of the bayberry candle poem and tie a fabric bow around them for a Christmassy touch.

Legend has it that the group of women who discovered bayberry wax started the colonial tradition of giving bayberry candles as Christmas gifts. 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 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. 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.

Some folks follow the bayberry candle tradition on Christmas eve and others follow it on New Years eve.

Many 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. 

You could burn one bayberry taper and share the other. The recipient will love this gift when they read the bayberry candle poem and history behind the tradition. Gifting someone with a bayberry candle means you wish them happiness, prosperity and good luck in the coming year.

Mondays are always happy but busy days around my house and today is certainly no different.  I'll be wrapping and tying up plenty of ribbons and bows today so it will be a MERRY day here.  I hope your Monday is a Merry one too!

'On Ya'-ma


betty said...

Interesting about the bayberry candles, Ma. I didn't realize how many it would take to make one, I can see why they would be treasured from long ago!

Sounds like a fun day wrapping presents! Always good to see your efforts under the tree for others to enjoy!

Our church does an outreach to kids down in Eseneda, Mexico, about 45 miles from here. The past few weeks people have been collecting new toys at work places, buying them, etc to try to collect 3500 to 5000 toys. We had the wrapping party yesterday after church! That was quite a scene to see close to 40 people at tables in the auditorium wrapping, wrapping, wrapping, wrapping!

Enjoy your day!


Scrappy quilter said...

What a wonderful tradition. I've never heard of this candle before. I'm off volunteering this morning then home to quilt. Hope you have a wonderful Mon.

jack69 said...

You amaze me. I have never heard of Bayberry (that I can remember). interesting history lesson. Thanks and a very good read.
Love sent from down here!!!! t Florida's Main st.


This reminded me of my mother. She would always have Bayberry candles burning around Christmas. The sweet smell filled our nostrils with holiday cheer. I did not know all the background info on the bayberry candle though. The sad part is, for the last couple years I have looked everywhere and haven't been able to find one to incorporate in the festivites here. They have a million different Christmas scents, but no Bayberry. Take care.


PS) Thanks for the heads up about the candle shop.

JeanJournal said...

Another great post, ma. seems you are busy as a bee. ~ having a jolly time this WONDERFUL month of December. You're a treasure, my dear!I'm learning SOOO many Christmas "posibilities" to share with friends ~ and try to DO myself.(hope I spelled that word...right) hmmm..possibility? JeanJournal