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 candle (about 15 pounds of bayberries to make one pound of wax).
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.
It is believed that you should light your bayberry candle on the eve of your holiday of choice and allow it to burn completely until it goes out on its own. Here are two versions of the Bayberry Candle Poem.
Bayberry Candle Poem 1
This bayberry candle is a gift from a friend,
on Christmas Eve burn it down to the end.
A bayberry candle burned down to the socket,
brings luck to the home and wealth to the pocket.
Bayberry Candle Poem 2
Here’s a Bayberry Candle that’s meant just for you,
With Holiday Tradition that’s tried and true.
When you light this candle on Christmas Eve Day,
Love and Luck come to you when it’s burned all the way!