There are different kinds of candles in the world and many of them are used for different things. Candles are such wonderful items that numerous materials have been used to make them over the course of millennia. This is why, although the earliest versions of candles can be traced back to about five thousand years ago, a plethora of versions exist in today’s world.

Of the many types of candles out there in the world, birthday candles are one of the most notable; they can be edible or inedible and they always add a little extra spark to birthday cakes.


Candles have been around for a very long time, and like most things that have managed to escape the reach of extinction (despite having existed for so long), they have been forced to change and adapt ever since the moment they were invented.

As a matter of fact, the mere existence of the image that comes to the forefront of people’s minds, whenever they think of candles, is a product of change, adaptation and even evolution. This is because the previous version of candles – that existed before the cylindrical-shaped item that we automatically think of when someone says “candle” – were rush-lights. Rush lights are basically torches that have been dipped in rendered fat; and they were the unofficial forefathers of the modern candle.

Speaking of the modern candle, its creation and evolution took place over the course of different stages, which spanned across millennia. The earliest types of candles are tallow candles, which were made from rendered fat (also called tallow), which was obtained from the carcasses of slaughtered cows and other forms of livestock (in some parts of the world, tallow candles were even made from aquatic animals such as sharks and whales, which also had fat which could be boiled down to make candles). Following this, other types of candles have been put in use, and they include natural waxes such as; beeswax, soy wax, pal wax and so on. Waxes, which are not of natural origins, have also been invented; e.g. paraffin wax, which is made from a petroleum by-product known as paraffin.

However, soon after paraffin wax was invented in the 19th century, candles soon faded out of mainstream use (as far as lighting purposes were concerned). This is due to the invention of the electric light bulb.



It is difficult to classify candles into clear cut categories, because there are so many criteria to choose from. However, the two main types of candles include the following:

  • Inedible candles

Based on the types of materials used in their making, candles can be generally classified as edible or inedible.

Inedible candles are the most popular types of candles, as they are used mainly for purposes that do not involve food. These kinds of candles are usually used to provide illumination, to emit fragrance in the field of aromatherapy, and for other purposes that do not require – or factor in – oral consumption. Hence, these types of candles are generally made from materials such as paraffin wax, tallow (only tallow candles that do not contain any type of artificial additives can be eaten. Many of the ones that are perfectly edible are usually prepared by chefs in restaurants that specialize in edible candles), beeswax etc. Even soy candles, palm candles, coconut candles and other types of natural waxes fall under this category of being inedible, because they were not deliberately manufactured to be eaten (in fact, many of them contain artificial dyes, fragrances and other additives that may lead to health problems if eaten).

Under this category, there are different types of candles such as; tea-light candles, altar candles, votive candles etc.

  • Edible candles

Edible candles are the category of candles that were deliberately created for edible consumption. Apart from specially prepared tallow candles (which have been cooked by chefs and seasoned with the intention of being eaten as food), other types of edible candles can be made using different materials such as chocolate, biscuits (flour), fruit and other yummy ingredients, that are highly suitable for confectioneries such as birthday cakes.

Edible candles were introduced as toppers for birthday cakes, because a lot of people didn’t like the idea of throwing away birthday cake candles (due to the fact that they could not be eaten), and they’ve been a hit ever since.


When it comes to using birthday candles for cakes, well, there’s a special feeling that comes when it time to blow out the candle. The act of blowing out the candles on a birthday cake has existed for several decades, and it is a tradition that a lot of people hold dearly and look forward to, on their birthdays. However, not everybody knows the proper way to blow out the candles on their birthday cake.

When blowing out birthday candles, a lot of things (ahem, germs) may get on the cake during the process, which is why it is advisable for people to have a separate, much smaller cake that they can put their candles on – and eat by themselves.

Another method you can use is to pick out each candle on your cake and blow it out in your hand, one after the other (or all at once…as long as you’re not blowing directly on the cake).

If this method isn’t up to your standards, then you might want to try something more…innovative. It is possible to use an original blow out candle blowing device to put out the candles on your birthday cake. This particular device acts like a sort of funnel for the air you use in blowing your candles and is claimed to be capable of getting rid of more than 99 percent of all germs (viruses and bacteria) that could be emitted from a person’s mouth, as they attempt to blow out the their birthday candles. This device is relatively cheap, and easy to use.

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