I know, I know. It's too early to start thinking about Christmas, but I can't help myself.
Colonial Candle's founding lady; Ma Mabel, in the early 1900s, began crafting candles from the wild bayberries that grew in her native Cape Cod. This is still one of Colonial Candle's top sellers. During the holidays we have a gift pack of two 10 inch handipt tapers. I asked one of our long time employees "what's up with these weird little taper packets" and she regaled the adorable tradition of the bayberry candle on Christmas Eve.
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.
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. 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.