Why Do We Burn Bayberry Candles Around the Holidays?

A look at where this Yuletide tradition comes from

Bayberry Candle Tradition

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During the holiday season, some people burn a bayberry candle for good luck. If your family burns one on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve and recites the poem, you might be wondering: Why do we burn them and where did the tradition of burning bayberry candles come from?

Bayberry spells are great for money-drawing magic. But, magic aside, they’re also a nice way to set your intentions for the coming year.

Where Did the Bayberry Candle Tradition Come from?

The legend of this olive green scented candle actually has a pretty mundane history and it isn’t just tied to the coal region.

When the Colonial settlers arrived in America, they needed light. And, at that time, light came primarily in the form of candles. At that time, candles were made from animal fat (tallow). When burned, they gave off a lot of smoke and had an unpleasant odor.

Around the same time, they noticed that the bayberry bush (also known as wax myrtle) produced a waxy substance when they boiled the berries. So, the Colonial women began to skim the wax off the surface of the water and saved it to create bayberry taper candles.

These candles smelled much better and didn’t smoke like the tallow ones. But, they couldn’t create many of them because they needed to boil 15 pounds of bayberries to get one pound of wax.

As a result, they burned the bayberry candles only on special occasions like Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Bayberry Candle Tradition - bush

Why Do We Burn Bayberry Candles?

Whether or not you believe in witchcraft, bayberry candles and the bayberry herb have been traditionally used to draw in money and good fortune. Bayberry spells can help with:

  • reducing overspending
  • good fortune
  • granting wishes
  • money-drawing (bringing money your way)

By reciting the bayberry poem and setting your intention for the coming year, you may be able help move things in a positive direction when it comes to good fortune.

Other Ways to Use Bayberry to Bring Prosperity

You can work with bayberry at any time of the year, not just around the winter solstice. The herb, which grows on the sandy shores of the Atlantic Coast is associated with Jupiter, the planet of expansion and good fortune.

You can do this by using the powdered root or essential oil in your practice. You can rub the root on the front of your credit card if you tend to overspend or anoint a money-drawing candle with the oil.

If you’re not the DIY type, Organic Botanica sells a  bayberry bath and floor wash that they recommend mopping and cleaning your floors with after you declutter and air out your space to draw in good fortune.

What Is the Bayberry Poem?

There are a few versions of the poem that capture the meaning behind the bayberry candle. If you’re burning the candle with the intention to manifest good fortune, reciting the poem as you do so can help, whether or not you think of doing so as a “spell.”

“A bayberry candle comes from a friend

So on Christmas Eve, burn it down to the end.

For a bayberry candle burned to the socket

Will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.”

Here’s a shorter version:

“For a bayberry candle burned to the socket

brings joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.”

Bayberry Candle Tradition - Tree

When Should I Burn a Bayberry Candle?

Some say you should light it when the first star appears in the night sky and it should burn until after midnight. Considering the first star comes out around 4pm in the winter and most candles have a 6 to 8 hour burn time, burning it shouldn’t keep you up too too late. (We don’t recommend leaving it to burn it when you’re sleeping.)

If you are burning the candle for good luck in the coming year, light it on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, or Yule.

If your candle has a long wick, trim it to 1/2″ or less before lighting.

What Does a Bayberry Candle Smell Like?

Bayberry candles give off a scent that is slightly sweet like a berry, but is also woodsy and piney. To some, it may smell slightly bitter.

What If I Have to Go to Bed?

Some say that if you extinguish it, it’s bad luck. But, so is burning down your house. So, if you get too tired before the bayberry candle has burned all the way to the end, I recommend doing the same thing we do with candles used for candle magic: don’t blow it out, but put something over it that will slowly extinguish it. Relight it the following night and let it burn completely.

What Are the Best Bayberry Candles?

If you’re following tradition, you’ll want to use a bayberry taper candle so it can burn to the end in one night. Here are some to choose from.

1. Christmas Tree Bayberry Candle, $8.95

The fir tree shape of this hand-poured bayberry candle is perfect for Christmas or Yule and its faint scent is ideal if your household is sensitive to aromas.
Bayberry Candle - Christmas Tree

2. Pinecone Bayberry Candle, $11.95

This bayberry candle has been formed into the shape of a cute pinecone and hand-poured in Maryland.
Bayberry Candles - Pinecone

3. Hand-Dipped 8″ Bayberry Tapers, $14.05

These authentic candles have a cotton wick and rave reviews on Etsy.

Bayberry Candles - hand dipped taper

4. Real Bayberry Taper Candles

This pair of 8″ taper candles is mostly dripless and each will burn for 8 to 10 hours.
Bayberry Candles - taper

5. Taper Candle Holder

If you’re burning a taper candle, you’ll need one of these.
Bayberry Candles - black candle holder