Tuesday, December 29, 2015

THE TRADITION OF BAYBERRY

 
Do you partake of the tradition of bayberry on New Year's Eve? Or have any of you heard of it? My grandmother, ALWAYS burned a bayberry candle on New Year’s Eve.  The Legend goes as follows:  A Bayberry candle burned to the socket brings Luck to the household, and Wealth to the pocket. In Irish tradition, the candle needs to continue burning from one day into the next, so as to bring the good luck forward.  My grandmother also told me this is why we eat ham or pork on New Year’s rather than fowl – because a bird scratches backwards while the pig always roots forward! Ever since she passed on I have always continued to burn them on New Years Eve, in the form of tapers and votives. And every year my co-workers get a pair of tapers with their gifts from me for the fun of it.
 
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, which tends to smoke and give off an odor. 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 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.
 
 They are also very safe to burn, and should go about 5-6 hours.  However, burn times vary so I recommend that you light the candle around 9-10pm on the evening prior to ensure it won’t burn out prematurely –  remember, you want it to burn INTO Christmas and/or New Year’s Day! If I go to bed, I have placed them in the bathtub for safety, unless their are in a glass enclosed holder, which I usually do, and it keeps a nice candle lit atmosphere of my overnight guests. And they smell INCREDIDBLE!!!! I usually switch from pine of Christmas to Bayberry all winter long. It's a fun tradition.

29 comments:

  1. I learn something new every day; I did not know this! I don't even know what bayberry smells like; guess I better go buy a candle and find out!

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  2. Yes!!!! This is one, and probably the only, tradition of my grandmother I still continue. Noting like a nice smelling bayberry for New Years.

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  3. Bayberry is my favorite candle. Not as strong as pine, but a calmer version. Your right...a perfect scent for the winter. Never heard of this tradition, but I like it.

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  4. You are soooo "Swiss Family Robinson." Jx

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    1. you should see what she does with her sausage.

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    2. May I make you both a seashell choker?

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  5. what a lovely tradition to inherit from grandma...
    sadly it's too hot for candles as they tend to start melting even before being lit at this time of year...
    Otherwise i'd give it a go darling...

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  6. Never heard or did this, but may have to get some

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  7. What a nice story. I totally forgot about bayberry candles! I’ve been using pine scented ones for so long, I love bayberry scented candles. Gotta get some for new years.

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  8. Going to the mall and smelling all the amazing candles is a fond childhood memory. I don’t have them around so much during the warmer months, but I love to use them when the weather turns cold.I may have to hit up the Yankee tomorrow. Great story, love the bit of history bit.

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    1. Alas, I was in Yankee just today for something and they didn't have any!!!!!!

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  9. What a lovely tradition. Believe it or not, I have some bayberry candles. I'll light one on New Year's Eve - since I always light candles then anyway.

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  10. I've not heard of bayberry candles or this tradition either - I imagine the tradition is mainly a US one considering how it began?
    Next time I'm in town, I'll be doing the same as Mahogany Empress and seeing what the Yankee shop have in stock.

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    1. Yes, I believe you are right, but maybe witch's brew might be found.

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  11. I have heard of this but had forgotten all about it. Bayberry smells so good too. I should look for some.

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  12. I love knowledge, I yearn for it! Thanks for this tidbit which I didn't yet know.

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  13. I was not aware of this, but I'm not sure I'd do something like this in my apartment. My biggest fear is something would happen to the entire building if someone left a candle unattended.

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    1. I have an apartment too, with anywhere from 6 to 15 candles lit. My mother says she is waiting to get a call that Claudia Blazedale went up in flames at La Mirage.

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  14. I had never heard about this. Unfortunately, I can't even go into a candle shop - the fragrances make my throat close up within minutes. So do heavy perfumes.
    The one we follow is to always have money in our hand at the stroke of midnight - doesn't matter what denomination it is. It's said that it will ensure you will have no money worries over the year; there will always be "enough to survive."

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    1. That is a good tradition too!I should try this. Every year, I have a junk in my hand. Hence all the sex. Maybe I should try your tradition!!!!

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  15. I love Bayberry...such a clean and woodsy smell. Love the story behind it.

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  16. I should go buy a case with the luck I have.

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  17. I love bayberry candle....they smell so calming.

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  18. Inquiring minds want to know, will your bayberries be out new years eve?

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    Replies
    1. That's the thing in these parts, which ball will hit the ground first.

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  19. What a nice tradition! I must do this tomorrow night. I'm taking a night off from performing...I can't wait.

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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