Candles are often a commonplace within many households and cultures around the world, yet their origin isn’t quite so simple.
Origins of Candles
The earliest candles were found in tombs of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs and would now be considered artifacts. Primitive cultures such as this used natural materials to form their candles. The most common material at this time was beeswax, which can produce a long-lasting, renewable candle.
Even today, beeswax is usually preferred over cheaper alternatives such as soy wax.
Symbolism Throughout History
Despite candles serving a very practical purpose, they also hold an immense symbolism within many societies and religions. For example, early Christians often used candles to light their surroundings during religious service, but over time it evolved into a tradition of honoring saints and martyrs.
In time, Catholics began to view candlelight as a symbol of Christ, with the flame representing his divinity, the wick representing his soul, and the finally, the wax representing his body.
Many pagans and ‘witches’ view candles as a key component to their rituals and often place them upon their altars.
“The flame cleanses our energy fields. There are no rituals that could be done without the energy of a candle because every ritual typically invokes four energies: fire, wind, earth and water.” – Vilius Malinauskas : Lithuanian Runologist
In color therapy, some people view different colored candles as having various attributes. For example, one might burn a red candle to encourage passion or motivation.
Candles in Modern Times
Although one may often light candles in modern times, it is not very common for people to think about their history and where they came from. Remember when you are burning one, that candles have a deeper meaning and represent much more then a simple burning flame.
This article was last revised on 02/28/2020.