Editorial: Candles create a calm and captivating scene

by Carmen Visser

As a bit of a pyromaniac, it seems natural that I adore candles. I find that a candle changes the entire atmosphere of a room.

Although I only started filling my room with candles in 2020, I have since become obsessed. They look gorgeous. They smell amazing. And the calming process of lighting a candle in your room can become addictive.

Image sourced from Hanna Balan on Unsplash

Celebrating Candles

Although candles were originally used for lighting, many religions include candles in their celebrations and ceremonies. Christians use candles to represent “The Eternal Light” and will often light them during prayers.

In Judaism, candles represent a calm and reflective atmosphere, encouraging Jewish people to rest. Additionally, on the eighth day of the Hanukkah celebration, a nine-branched candelabrum is lit. Jewish people might also incorporate candles into their other holidays such as Yom Kippur and the Passover.

Candles are incredible significant for Buddhists. They signify respect when placed in front of a shrine and represent the enlightenment found by Buddha. At the beginning of the Buddhist Lent, Buddhists host an annual candle festival in Thailand where artists showcase their skills.

Furthermore, candles are also considered a great way to pay respect to those who have passed. With numerous connotations, candles can be incorporated into almost any situation. Romantic candle-lit dinner. Serene atmosphere for meditation. Tranquil bubble bath. They improve the mood in nearly every way.

While candles are mainly objects for use, they can also be lovely decorations. Nearly every home and furniture store will stock shelves full of candles – all in varied sizes, shapes and scents. Additionally, you also get many different candle holders, for each interior design style.

Image sourced from Mike Labrum on Unsplash

Their History

Candles have been around since before the Middle Ages. They were an important part of life for ancient societies as they provided light during the dark hours.

Originally, candles were made from animal or vegetable fat. While the candle burned easily and provided good lighting, it smelt terrible and produced a lot of smoke. Therefore, these candles were not used indoors.

Eventually, someone discovered that candles made from beeswax smelt much better and did not produce as much smoke. However, these were too expensive for the average person, so were mainly reserved for the wealthy.

In today’s world, candles are made from paraffin – a wax that has been crystalised from petroleum. The wick inside the candle is made from cotton that has been twisted or plaited. Originally, the cotton was simply straight, but then the candle burnt rather unevenly.

Image sourced from Raspopova Marina on Unsplash

What about the environment?

This is a cheap and effective way to mass produce candles. However, it is not environmentally friendly as it relies on fossil fuels. You might be pleased to know that there are several places in South Africa that make and sell environmentally friendly candles – vegan ones too!

Here are a few of the best natural candle making organisations in South Africa:


o The candles made by SoyLites are petroleum free and are produced from pure soybean oil. They also emit close to zero toxins or black smoke.

Riley’s Wild Bunch

o The pure soy candles from Riley’s Wild Bunch are 100% environmentally friendly and 100% vegan. The melted wax from the candle is also highly recommended as a softening skin treatment.

Earth Candles

o Earth Candles also recommending using their candle wax as a massage or moisturising oil for skin. Their candles are handcrafted from soy wax.

Msulwa Life

o The candles from Msulwa Life are made from coconut and soy wax. Made from plant-based materials and coming in reusable glass jars, they are entirely environmentally friendly.

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