Legend of the Bayberry Candle
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 (animal fat) which tended 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 took a lot of bayberries to make enough wax to make a single taper.
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 Year's Eve to bring blessings of abundance in the coming year. It is not known who actually came up with the traditional bayberry candle poem, but the tradition continues to this day.