Candles are much more than what they seem. They are more than the portable and small household items most people think they are, or the relics of simpler times (from back when the art of illumination was still coming up, and humanity was still figuring out how to find their way to the path of electricity and what may lie beyond it). In recent years, candles have become popular again, with the rise of their widespread use in the field of aromatherapy. And people from all over the world use them for purposes that are much more complex in nature.
WHY DO PEOPLE USE CANDLES?
People use candles for a number of reasons. Back in the past – about several decades ago – candles were some of the only sources of illumination in the world. Several thousands and millions of them were used all over the world, each year. And the use of these candles became even more popular, during those days, when paraffin wax candles were invented at the end of the 19th century.
The invention of paraffin wax candles changed the game, when it came to the production of candles en masse. This is because paraffin wax candles are easier to work with for candle makers (particularly those who use molds in factories to manufacture their products). Paraffin wax candles are also better at handling dyes and other additives commonly used in candle making (e.g. fragrance and scents). Therefore, following the invention of paraffin wax candles at the end of the 19th century, a lot of candle makers around the world began to use them far more than other types of candle waxes (and till this date, paraffin wax candles are the most common types of candles in the world). But shortly after their invention, the electric light bulb was also invented, and this ushered the world into another chapter in the field of illumination. Nowadays, many of the reasons why people still use candles, even after it has long been established that candles can no longer meet the world’s demand for illumination – include the following:
- Candles are a sign of personal taste
When people use candles in certain ways, it is a sure way to show their impeccably classic personal taste. This is because candle lovers who find tasteful ways to showcase their candles usually succeed in sending a clear message about their unique tastes to all who behold these kinds of setups (we’re talking family members, guests etc).
Most people see candles as relics of simpler times in the realm of illumination, and as vestiges of certain periods of times that still inspire some sort of fond sentiment to people (and this is why candles that can be traced back to significant points in history – or simply those that are several decades and centuries years old – can usually be auctioned off for considerably large sums of money, compared to the prices of other types or new models of candles. This particularly holds true when these older candles also happen to be products of prestigious candle and fragrance houses such as Cire Trudon and similar companies; that have made an indelible mark for themselves in the field of candle making).
- Candles are a signal of sophistication
In this day and age, avid candle makers – especially those with impeccable tastes – are usually thought to be sophisticated and classy. This is because the act of candle burning is no longer the necessity it used to be (e.g. back when candles were some of the fewest means of lighting and illumination in the world). One of the most popular uses of candles in this present time involves their use in the management of conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, anger and so on (in the field of aromatherapy). Therefore, those who use candles are now seen as sophisticated because candle burning has now become an act that symbolizes the fact that someone takes care of themselves or pampers themselves in a classy and elegant manner that can be expensive or extravagant in certain circles; this fits perfectly with one of the most common images of sophistication.
- Candles are used for aromatherapy
These days, candles play a very big role in the field of aromatherapy, where they are used as important tools for aiding stress relief, relaxation and the management of other conditions that may be psychological and even physical in nature. This is because the fragrances used in natural scented candles are usually derived from essential oils; which have been proven to have positive effects on a person’s psychological, mental and physical health. The way this works is that when (these kinds of) scented candles are burned, they give off the fragrance of essential which is reputed to work wonders when people perceive their aroma.
- Candles are used on birthday cakes
Candles have been used on birthday cakes for centuries. Blowing out birthday candles is a long standing tradition that is believed to help the birthday celebrant grant a wish.
ORIGIN OF BIRTHDAY CANDLES
The tradition of lighting candles is actual thousands of years old, and is linked to the worship of Artemis. However, the first time history really documents the use of candles on a birthday cake was in 1746 when a German man called Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf celebrated his birthday with a big ceremony, and a large cake. One of the most interesting parts of his lavish birthday celebration, according to history, is his extravagant birthday cake which had several candles (the number of candles on his cake were the same as his age).
Ever since then, there have been more instances of people using candles on their birthday cakes, in this exact manner. However, over time, a lot of superstitions surfaced around this practice. For example, some people believe that when the celebrant closes their eyes and blows out their candles, whatever wish they have in mind will come true (as they blow out their candles), as long as they don’t say their wish out loud. However, in recent times, people have been seeking better ways to keep up with the tradition of blowing out birthday candles, because when done improperly, it can increase the spread of bacteria through the birthday cake.