The Bayberry Candle Legend!

Yule Legend · The ritual developed around the bayberry candles was a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve tradition. On the night before Christmas or on New Year’s Eve, a bayberry candle was burned — and it had to be timed to stay alight until after midnight — to bring a year of prosperity and good fortune to the household. You could not extinguish the candle; it had to be allowed to burn out on its own. If the candle burned down to the socket, abundance would bless everyone participating in the ritual. Because pure bayberry wax tends to be brittle, traditional candles were, so candle-makers mixed the wax with beeswax to help them hold their shape and not fracture. A genuine bayberry candle won’t give off a powerful perfume — those are artificially perfumed candles — but will emit its fragrance most noticeably when it goes out or is snuffed out. Legend in Rhyme · A gift of a bayberry candle is an invitation to participate in the holiday ritual. Lighting a symbolic bayberry candle calls for a recitation of the legendary 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.” A slightly different version of the invocation delivers the same message: “A bayberry candle burned to the socket brings luck to the household, food to the larder and gold to the pocket.”

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