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Candle Culture

Updated on October 15, 2014

Candles: For All Occasions

I Love Candles. Birthdays, Christmas, healing, Valentines they are used all over in different cultures.

I have candles everywhere in our home. Candles can be relaxing and therapeutic. I buy them as Birthday and Christmas gifts. Give them to people who are unwell to cheer them up.

I keep candles as decorative ornaments (they look especially beautiful in the winter at Christmas time)and I have some special ones which are keepsakes.

I use candles to commemorate those I have loved and lost...

This page is an education for me as I love candles yet I had never until now really explored all the different types, how candles are used in different cultures and ceremonies and what their significance really is.

We will also explore ear candling and how to enjoy a relaxing pamper yourself hour!

If you know any interesting facts or significance about candles and culture please feel free to leave your comment in the guestbook at the bottom of this page.

Image credit Candle - 14.5 oz. Christmas Eve

What Are Candles Made From?

The Making of Candles Through History.

So how did we get to have Candles?

The earliest candlemaking I could find was in around 3000 BC. The Cretans and Egyptians made candles from beeswax.

The candle was also made from many other materials, some which I found quite surprising.

In many places,these earliest candles were produced using a range of products like wax which will be familiar to us and also tallow and fat.

"Tallow is a rendered form of bovine or mutton fat, processed from suet. "(Source Wikipedia)

I was very surprised to learn that the sperm whale was utilised to make spermaceti. This is an oil the whale produces. This oil made for a much better candle apparantly and was in use in the 18th century for candle making.

Also in the 18th century but later cheaper products became available like rapeseed oil and colza oil.

Paraffin was not in use until it was first made in 1830. It was seen as a cheap way of producing candles and had the added benefit of an odourless and good quality candle.

Once kerosene came into use shortly afterwards, it overtook paraffin as it was a more efficient fuel for candles.

It was around this time in the mid 1800's that candles also became used as a decorative ornament for the home.

In more recent times, resin candles, thought to burn longer; soy candles-made from soya beans-which is a renewable resource; liquid oil candles and even LED candles-safer when a lit candle could be unwise, have become more used in our homes.

Essentially people are seeking candle ingredients which make the candle which burns for a long time, burns cleanly and evenly with little smoke. Many people like a scented candle that stays true to its scent all the way through.

Increasingly safety issues(hence LED/flameless candles)and environmental concerns are high on the list as well.

For more information on this brief history of candles please follow the link below.

Uses Of Candles

Brief Note on Candle Uses For Home, Spirituality And Therapy.

The candle had an important role to play in lighting our homes at one time. Before electricity it was the common form to provide light in the dark hours. Later it was joined by the Oil lamp.

These days in many countries the candle is seen as a purely decorative ornament. Traditionally lit at a romantic candle lit dinner for two, dinners out at lovely restaurants, Christmas celebrations and Birthdays.

The candle is still occasionally used for when there are electricity failures!! When I first set up home my mum gave me a box of candles "for emergencies".

It is also featured strongly in many religious, spiritual and cultural ceremonies and has great significance.

If you have a relaxing massage, beauty treatment or aromatherapy treatment you may often find the therapist lights a lovely scented candle to add to the ambience and enhance relaxation...

Demonstrations on How to Make Your Own Candles

For the more craft orientated people or if you just want to have a bit of fun , making your own candles can be great.

You can once you get the hang of it personalise them more and make up more interesting and unusual candles as well.

Watch this first video to get you started and maybe have a think about having a go at making your own Candles for Christmas!!

Make Your Own Candle Books

If you learn Candle making skills you can then make your own candles and personalise them for Christmas, Birthdays, even A Wedding gift!

There are a huge amount of resources on making your own candles. Here is just one book that you will find useful.

Why not make your own candles for Christmas , or even give any your homemade candles as Christmas gifts?

Making Candles -Setting Up Your Workspace.

Festive Christmas Candles

Candles are a great gift at Christmas and lovely in the home.

I said to my mum if you are wondering what to get me for Christmas candles would be wonderful!

I love to receive and give candles. Candles are a great Christmas or celebration gift as you can get so many different ones to suit everyone, some are pretty others more practical, some candles you wouldn't want to burn they are so beautiful, others you would use regularly.

Candles may also be found on Advent wreaths and contribute to the beauty there.

Before the advent of electricity candles were often used to light up Christmas trees. They may still be placed on Christmas trees as decoration but less commonly lit now in homes due to safety concerns.

At Christmas and all throughout the wintertime candles are lovely to have around. I think it is especially lovely to have those scented with vanilla, spices and woody tones as they lend a comforting feel about them.

Where I live by the time Christmas comes it is dark and cold by half past three in the afternoon and you really do need some comfort and warming feel to make you feel warm and cosy.

I always have festive candles all over the house at Christmas and they give it a homely and festive feel. I especially like to have candles burning during the Christmas dinner as part of a centrepiece.

Hopi Ear Candling

Therapeutic Ear Candling Treatments

I had not heard of Hopi Ear Candling until I went to a Healing fair with a friend. He wanted to try it so I went with him. These candles are very different to the candles you would have in your home.

From my research the origins of Hopi Ear candling are from ceremonies of the Hopi native American indian tribe. (Hopi means peaceful people. I think that is lovely...) It appears to have been used for medical reasons.

The therapist uses a candle like a cotton tube which has therapeutic oils mixed with beeswax and honey.

The use of Hopi Ear candling includes help with colds and sinus probelems, hearing issues, inner ear problems, wax, tinnitus, hearing difficulties and colds.

The non burning side of the candle is actually inserted into the persons ear as they lie comfortably on their side. Usually they are asked to remove jewellery and to be in comfortable clothes. Generally the person the just lies still for approximately 10 minutes then turns over and the other side is repeated. I have not had this treatment myself but I am told it is very soothing nad relaxing and really helps clear the head and relieve stress and pressure.

It works as there is a gentle heat from the candle which with the oils produces a sucking action which draws out impurities.

As I have had bouts of sinusitis all throughout my life, this may be something I need to try! My friend certainly recommends it.

13oz LAVENDER CHAMOMILE Scented Jar Candle (Our Own Candle Company Brand)


Pamper Yourself with Candles

Enjoy a relaxing pampering session- music, bath oils and candles.

I love to pamper!! One of the best ways I find to destress is to relax with the gentle glow of candles around me.

Some relaxing candle suggestions

In the Bath.

Get those little tea light candles and if you have a ledge around your bath place them carefully on there. If you do not have a ledge or feel that is not safe enough then place the candles on a windowsill. THen turn tohe lights down or off and preferably have some lovely gentle relaxing music playing, relaxing lavender oils in the bath and just r-e-l-a-x. Bliss

While watching a great film.

Get all cosy in you r most relaxing nightwear. Lock the door, close the blinds or curtains and light the room only woth candles. Scented ones of you r choice are ideal but any will be good. Makes a lovely atmosphere. Of course if Horror films are your thing it might be more erie and less pampering but thats your choice!


A massage is lovely anytime but create the mood with some gorgeous scented candles. Make sure the room is nce and warm, have lots of fluffy towels around, some gorgeous massage oils and your candles. You do need enough light so the person massaging you can see but keep it low for full relaxation.

Floating Candles, A Bit Different.

Biedermann & Sons 20 Romantic Lights Floating Candles, White
Biedermann & Sons 20 Romantic Lights Floating Candles, White

Floating candles can look just lovely in a large glass bowl maybe with some petals sprinkled on the surface of the water. Would make a stunning centrepiece at a Birthday Dinner or a lovely gift.


Birthdays and Candles

Candles on the Birthday Cake.

For some people and some cultures whenever a Birthday arrives there is a Birthday cake and on that cake are the number of candles of the persons age.

I grew up with the tradition that if it was your birthday, the cake would be brought in to the room and everyone would sing

"Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday to You

Happy Birthday dear(name of the birthday boy or girl)

Happy Birthday to you !!

Then the Birthday person would have to try to blow out all the candles in one go and then make a secret wish. If you ever told anyone what you wished for it would not come true! Babies and toddlers usually got some help from their parents :)

Of course the older you got the more candles there were and the harder it was to blow them all out!!

Most of us after we are 21 tend to not add many more candles to the cake for risk of Fire or lung injury in trying to blow them all out!! (LOL)

So many candles.. so little cake."

A birthday saying for those getting on in years

Valentine Amore Romantic Gift Set


Romantic Candle Gift Set

Valentine Amore Romantic Gift Set - Bed of Roses Scented floating silk rose petals and tealight candles
Valentine Amore Romantic Gift Set - Bed of Roses Scented floating silk rose petals and tealight candles

Romantic Candles - Candles and romance.

A romantic Dinner, Valentines day...what would they be without candles....Try some of these


Valentines Day Candles

Candles are Part Of Valentines Day.

Valentines day, love it or hate it (I Love it!)it comes round every year. For the people who enjoy it maybe a romantic dinner for two is on the cards at home or in a restaurant, or a cosy night in with your loved one, or a trip to a lovely hotel.

Wherever you go you may well find candles play their part inducing a warm, hazy flattering glow and romantic atmosphere...

For Valentines Presents as well you may consider a lovely scented candle as a gift.

Candles in the Christian Religions

The role of candles in Christanity.

In Many Christian Churches you will see candles. Its religious significance is often said to be the Light of Christ and they are often found placed at the altar. Candles also serve a purpose of being decorative and giving a mood to the Church as well. The candle is often placed on the altar.

Alongside prayer, a Votive candle can be used and lit. The candle is lit in front of icons in Orthodox and other churches. A special candle known as a Paschal candle is present in some churches, which is only lit at special times such as Easter, funerals and Baptismspecifically represents Christ.

The end of the season of Epiphany is signified by Candlemas in some denomintions.The significance of the candle here is that the priest blesses the candle which is to be used in worship for the following year.

In Sweden (and other Scandinavian countries), on the 13th December, St. Lucia Day is celebrated. In terms of the role of the candle on that day, a young girl is crowned with a candle ring.

Candles in Buddism

Candles also form a large part of Buddism and is traditional in the Buddist rituals. Candles or other sources of light are placed in front of images of the Buddah or shrines as a mark of respect.

In Buddism the light of the candle is reflective of the light of Buddahs teachings. There may also be flowers, incense and food placed there as well.

Candles in Hinduism

In Hinduism candles are a symbol of prosperity and enlightenment.

In religious occasions the oil candle lamps which are ritual lamps known as Terracotta diyas are used. Traditionally made of terracotta with oil and a cotton wick. However now sometimes waxes may be used as well.

Candles in Judaism

A candle is traditionally lit each Friday evening at the beginning of the Sabbath and Saturday night during the Havdalah ritual, which ends the Sabbath.

During the eight day holiday of Hanukkah a candle is lit in a special candelabrum which is called a Chanukkiyah. This is to commemorate the dedication of the altar in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Candles are also used in menory of a loved one who has passed away. This is especially observed on the anniversary of their death with a 24 hour candle.

There is also a day of remembrance where a candle is lit to remember all those who perished in the Holocaust.

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

James Keller

Candles for Remembrance

Candles and remembering loved ones.

When any member of my family has passed away we always lit a candle in remembrance of them soon after they passed.

To this day every Christmas we light a candle for each of our parents who have passed and one for our dog Goldie.

We light the candles in silence and then say a private prayer and have a few momments in peace and stillness to pray and remember.

The candle to me signifies that although they are no longer physically with us their spirit lives on, still burning brightly...

We always find it a very touching and emotional thing to do...

Below see two touching videos how Candles and music come together in the remembrance of those people have loved and lost...

Candle In the Wind - "Goodbye English Rose"

How candles and the music of Elton John became a tribute to the memory of Princess Diana.

Elton John adapted the original words of the song "Candle in the Wind " to make it a memorial song to Diana.

Candles For Isabella - Very Touching Tribute to Isabella

Video to remember Isabella and raise awareness of Sudden death Infant Syndrome. Named "Candles for Isabella, showing how Candles help people to commemorate and show that the light lives on in those we have loved and lost.....

Alzheimer's Foundation of America National Commemorative Candle Lighting - Candles to Commemorate

Light " A Candle Of Care"

November 13th 2008

Do candles light up your life?

Do candles have significance for you or do you just like to pamper?

I would love to know who dropped by so please feel free to leave a comment.

Do You Like Candles? - What do Candles Mean To You?

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    • worldflashpacker profile image


      5 years ago

      I love the romance a candle can bring into your life. Scented candles effect my mood.

    • worldflashpacker profile image


      5 years ago

      I love the romance a candle can bring into your life. Scented candles effect my mood.

    • rosytaylor profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi! This is an amazing and Awesome lens. Thanks for sharing such a nice lens. Nicely done, Keep up your great work!

    • Home Interior D profile image

      Home Interior D 

      9 years ago

      Candles are so important to great interior design. Their romantic qualities are also sublime. great lens full of interesting information.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I really liked the information you gave on how candles are used in different religions.Great lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I really liked the information you gave on how candles are used in different religions.Great lens.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      We still use candles in case the power goes out, too. They warm up the house in the winter by a degree or two if you have several lit -- at least jar candles do. Nice work on this lens! Gave it a lensroll to our Candle Moods lens.

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 

      10 years ago

      YAY! Another candle lover! I've got candles literally EVERYWHERE in my house. I love them. Lensrolling this to my tarts page (I think they go quite well together). My favorite candles are a couple that a friend made for me scented with Dragon's Blood with holographic eyeballs on the side and no, they're not just for Halloween, I keep them out year-round!

    • rebeccahiatt profile image


      10 years ago

      Everyone I know loves candles, I find them romantic and relaxing. Thanks for the great lens.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      10 years ago

      Drawn to this lens because I too love candles. You have added some great information here! I am waiting for my 'gonna be new obsession'...a Scentsy warmer and bars. Thank you for sharing :-)

    • sisterra profile image


      10 years ago

      I love candles. Very informative. 5 stars

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love candles, and this is a great lens! Whenever I'm working I usually have a candle lit. It helps me to relax and adds the "fire" element to my home (plants for earth, windchime for air, and fountain for water). I had never heard of ear candles before, but now I want to try it. I'm glad you liked the Laughter Yoga lens.

    • Beaddoodler profile image

      Jennie Hennesay 

      10 years ago from Lubbock TX

      Wonderful lens. I love candles for so many different reasons. I was not aware of their cultural history. Thanks.

    • Becca Sanz profile image

      Becca Sanz 

      11 years ago

      I love the Valentine's Day Candles. For such a fantastic lens I’m sending you a virtual Strawberry Smoothy from the movement to promote healthy food on college campuses.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I LOVE CANDLES! Love your lens too. Always informative, always a *****


    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      11 years ago from USA

      Super lens! I love candles and I've learned so many new things about them here!

    • KarenC LM profile image

      KarenC LM 

      11 years ago

      You have a lot of great information here. Wonderful lens. Thanks for visiting my dog lenses.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      A very informative lens. I liked the culture aspect of candles. Well thoughtout lens.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 

      11 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      Wow, what an extensive and wonderful lens! My Mum loves candles. Thanks for stopping by my lens! Woofs, Johann


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