We are in that portion of the year where the days are short and the nights are long and in some parts of the world the days are so short they barely exist – sometimes referred to as the Polar Nights.
So it’s not surprising that it is also the time of year when candles become a part of our homes – not just for holiday celebrations but to get that feeling of coziness and warmth that we need in the colder months.
From the time we saw the magic of candles on a birthday cake that could grant us a wish if we could just blow them out, candles have always had a distinctive place in our lives and as such they represent an incredible link that taps into our past. Candles represent romance, security, warmth, spirituality, mystery, to name just a few things we associate with a lit candle. People of all faiths and different walks of life have joined together in candlelight vigils to grieve, pray or celebrate – such as the festival of lights for Santa Lucia Day:
The birthday candle is not the only candle symbolism we see as children and throughout our lives. In many religions there are places to light a candle for health, protection, and loving memory of people we have lost. Many believe that candles connect people with divine and with the deceased and candle light is where material world and the spiritual world meet.
At home and in our everyday lives, candles are catalysts for special moments, no matter if it’s a romantic supper where candle light is a must, or a relaxing hot bath with candle light, or just a warm sight to look at on a frosty winter night.
In parts of Scandinavia those frosty winter nights can last a very long time. Tromsø, Norway is one of those places.
In a 2015 article in The Atlantic magazine, found here, Kari Leibowitz writes about going from Atlanta, Georgia to spend “a year in Tromsø, Norway, where the ‘Polar Night’ lasts all winter—and where rates of seasonal depression are remarkably low.” She wrote about her discoveries regarding happiness and the wintertime blues.
“In Tromsø, the prevailing sentiment is that winter is something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured. According to my friends, winter in Tromsø would be full of snow, skiing, the northern lights, and all things koselig, the Norwegian word for ‘cozy.’ By November, open-flame candles would adorn every café, restaurant, home, and even workspace. Over the following months I learned firsthand that, far from a period of absolute darkness, the Polar Night in Tromsø is a time of beautiful colors and soft, indirect light.”
According to the National Candle Association candles have been used as a source of light and to illuminate celebrations for more than 5,000 years. Their website can provide you with more history about candles.
During this holiday season candles are a common addition to festive décor. While candles create a wonderful ambience anytime of year, there is a risk. The top three days for residential candle fires in the United States occur on New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. The National Candle Association shares the these three big candle safety rules:
Never leave a burning candle unattended. If there is a big gathering you might want to ask another guest or two to help you keep an eye on the candles. Never burn a candle in an area where you might fall asleep – which could be the couch or lounge chair as well as the bed.
Deck the halls, but space things out. Keep candles away from anything that may catch fire such as greenery, decorations, and curtains. Always make sure that candles are placed at least 3 inches apart.
Keep candles out of Rudolph’s reach – and any pets or children! Placing them up high and out-of-reach is your best bet. This will also help to make sure they are not toppled over if you many people moving around a room.
You can find more information on candle safety here and here:
We carry a large selection of Jul lights and candles as well as candles for use all year long. You can find them here.
This year, 2019, Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights – begins on December 23rd so there are millions of people around the world who will be celebrating holidays at the same time. Enjoy part of Peter, Paul and Mary’s famous holiday concert featuring the song Light One Candle: