Candles are an ancient tool, used by mankind for over 5,000 years. But despite their longstanding use, we know very little about their origin.
It has been written that the very first candles were created by the Ancient Egyptians, who used torches made by soaking reed cores in melted animal fat. However, there wasn’t a wick like we have in true candles.
Wicked Candles in Early History
Ancient Egyptians were using wicked candles as far back as 3,000 B.C., but the ancient Romans are usually the ones given credit for developing wicked candles before then by dipping rolled papyrus over and over in melted beeswax or tallow. The candles that resulted were used for traveling, home lighting, and in religious ceremonies and traditions.
Other early civilizations used insects and plants to make wicked candles. Early Chinese candles were reportedly molded in paper tubes, with rolled rice paper for the wick and insect wax mixed with seeds. Japanese candles were made from tree nut extracted wax. Candle wax in India was made by boiling fruits from the cinnamon tree.
Ancient traditions that incorporated candles included Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. The focus of the holiday is the candle lighting, a tradition that has been going on since 165 B.C. This ancient religious tradition is faithfully carried out even to this day, with candles being used just as they were thousands of years ago.
The candle is an incredible example of human ingenuity and creativity. Candles allowed mankind to harness light itself in a portable form. No longer were they limited to smoky torches and chaotic cooking fires; now they could light any room with minimal mess and smoke. Candles have illuminated thousands of scholars as they pored over elegantly scripted words and carvings. And now you can select candles of every size, color, and scent to illuminated and decorate your home.