The candle is an ignitable wick embedded in wax or some kind of flammable solid material. Candles are the earliest inventions of ancient times and were used as source of light and heat. The person who makes candles is called as chandler. Though traditionally used for lighting purpose, candles have always been a symbol of spirituality, guidance, enlightenment and divinity. The components of candles also have profound significance. The wax symbolizes purity and humanity, wick refers to soul, light depicts love, hope and divinity and heat symbolizes humility. From a philosophical perspective, the candle signifies light, hope, illumination and guidance in darkness of life. Candles are frequently used for lightening, celebration, decorations and festivals. Here are a few of amazing and interesting facts about candles!!
Candle and its spiritual significance in different religions
Candles have a profound religious significance in major religions. In Christianity, candles are often lit in churches. It is the sign of religious fervor and devotion. Lighting a candle is part of some religious rituals as well as a way to commemorate saints or biblical events. The follower of Judaism also lit candles during prayers and religious rituals. Hanukkah – the festival of lights, is one of religious event in Judaism in candles are lit on eight consecutive nights. Moreover, Jews lit candles prior to Jewish events such as Yom Kippur and the Passover. Lighting candles is considered as sign of peace. The light of a candle is considered a symbol of enlightenment of Buddha. Thai people celebrate the candle festival one day before the Buddhist Lent. A huge crowd of people march together holding elaborately ornamented candles. On the whole, candles or the light of candle signifies peace, religious fervor, devotion, spirituality and divinity.
Top 18 interesting facts about candles you probably did not know before!!
1. The history of candles dates back to 500 BC.!!
Yes, candle is one of the earliest inventions of ancient people. Romans made candles from animal fat. Candles were used on sixth day of every lunar month to celebrate and honor the birth of Artemis's (Greek goddess). Furthermore, candles were the primary source of light before the inventions of kerosene lamps and light bulb.
The oldest candle manufacturer that is still in existence was Rathborn candles. The company was established in 1488 in Dublin.
2. The major competitors of candle!
Traditional use of candles was reduced with the invention of olive oil lamp, kerosene lamps and electric bulb. However, the candles still play an important role during storms and other natural disasters as well as during festivals and celebration.
3. Candle manufacturing industry flourished in mid 19th century!
Candle manufacturing industry began to flourish in mid 19th
century. In 1834, Joseph Morgans, a Manchester based pewterer patented a candle making machine. This machine had the capacity for continuous production of molded candles and it produced 1500 candles per hour. Thus, candle manufacturing industry flourished well.
4. There is a lot of physics and chemistry behind candle flame!!
There is a lot of science behind the candle flame. Michael Faraday, known for his works on electromagnetism and electrochemistry, presented lecture series on the Chemical History of a Candle in 1860. In his lectures, he presented his profound observations and various scientific principles about burning candle.
In the late 1990s, NASA conducted space shuttle experiments to explore more about the behavior of candle flames in microgravity. Not only this, scientific community all around the world continue to conduct experiments with candles to learn more about candle flames, emissions and combustion.
5. This is why the flame of candle points upward!!
Normally, a candle’s flame points upwards. The science behind this phenomenon is that when the flame heats the surrounding air, the cooler air rises up. This is replaced by the cooler air from the base of flame. In short, the cycle of warm air replaced by the cooler air form the base of flame, counties giving the flame characteristic pointed shape.
Another of interesting facts about candles is that candle’s flame is spherical under microgravity. This revelation was made by NASA that candle’s flame is spherical under microgravity such as in space station.
6. The candle flame does not always stand straight!!
Did you know that under microgravity (like on a space station); some NASA scientists have revealed that a flame would be spherical.
7. The tradition of putting candles on birthday cakes began in Ancient Greece!!
The ancient Greeks would decorate birthday cakes with candles. The candles on birthday cake were a symbol of glowing moon, to the temple of Greek goddess Artemis. However, putting candles on birthday cakes became common in 1700s. Basically, each candle on birthday cake represents every passing year.
8. Eulachon fish is also called as “candlefish”- here is why!!
Eulachon is small edible marine fish commonly found on west coast of North America. This fish has really high fat content and thus it’s useful for making candles. Therefore, eulachon is also called as “candlefish”. This is another of amazing and interesting facts about candles.
9. Candle wax was eaten during famines!
Candles made in old times were edible. Those candles were mainly made with animal products like beef fat or beeswax. Therefore, during famines people would eat candle wax in order to survive.
10. Candle production is on rise in Europe!
Candle production is increasing in Europe. In 2019, the European Union (EU) produced candles worth €1 522 million. This is 6% higher production in comparison to year 2013. Poland is at top position (41%) in manufacturing and trade of candles followed by Italy (10%) and Germany (9%). In non-European countries, china is at top position for trade and manufacturing of candles, followed by United Kingdom and United States. (Source
11. Do not freeze a candle to make it last longer!
Some people believe that freezing a candle make it last longer. But that’s a myth. The fact is that freezing a candle cause cracking of wax and damages it.
12. Paraffin is the worst type of wax for candles!!
In old times, candles were made from natural materials. Candles were made from tallow (a byproduct of beef fat) in Europe. Moreover, the candle wax also came from insects, seeds and various plants.
Now days, candles are usually made from paraffin, beeswax, soy and many types of waxes. Paraffin is the worst of all the synthetic waxes. It’s a by-product of oil and it contains several harmful, potentially carcinogenic substances in it. So always choose candles wisely.
13. The first scented candles were made up of cinnamon!
Scented candles were made up of cinnamon and first made in India. Scented candles in America were made up of Bayberry leaves. Now days, many different kinds of scented candles are available in market. Moreover, tea lights are most popular and most purchased kind of candles.
14. Scented candles and food - a tricky combination!
Now days, scented candles are quite popular. Women, particularly, love these scented candles. Scented candles produce characteristic fragrance that imparts a sense of comfort and relaxation. Thus, many people use scented candles in bedrooms, dining area and on special occasions.
But here is a point you should consider when you decide to have scented candles at dinner table. Our experience of food depends on sense of taste and smell. Therefore, be careful when about putting scented candles on dinner table. Sometimes, it may ruin the whole aroma of food. On the other hand, some restaurants use this opportunity and offer a fine culinary experience.
15. The record for most candles lit simultaneously goes to India!
On November 2012, Indian art of living foundation made the record for most candles lit simultaneously at single venue. A total of 12,135 candles were lit all at once.
16. This is how Magic candles work!
You may probably know about “magic candles” that re-ignite even after blowing off. The reason behind this is that the candle wax contains red phosphorus. The phosphorous particles have the ability to re-ignite and thus candle burst back into flame.
17. Do you know the right way to light a candle!
You may not know but there is a right way of lighting a candle. Ideally, when you lit a candle for the very first time, let it burn for long enough. This will liquefy the top layer of the wax and the rest of candle burns evenly. For how long, it depends on the size of candle. In addition to this, if burning a candle produces smoke, it’s not a good thing. It usually happens when the wick is too long. So better trim its wick.
18. And the right way to put out the candle!!
When you blow out your candle, it produces smoke. Also, there is risk of blowing droplets of hot liquid wax in the surrounding area. So the best way is to use a candle snuffer. Using candle snuffer puts the flame out by depriving it of oxygen.
These were some of interesting facts about candles. Stay tuned for more amazing facts.