> hey what's for dinner mom?: Candle Making, St. Brigid's Day and Candlemas

1.31.2010

Candle Making, St. Brigid's Day and Candlemas









Today we made candles. No one got burned. No one cried. And no one screamed, including me. I consider this a win. I'd never made dipped tapers before today, I was a bit intimidated by hot wax but it wasn't too bad. In fact the cooler the wax ,the better they dipped and after we figured that out it was easy going. We sacrificed a few quart canning jars and 2 smaller jars for melting and dipping and we fashioned a hanging rack right over the counter. The whole project was relatively easy and took about 1 1/2 hours.

Here's a quick step by step:
  1. purchase wicks and wax we got some at Michaels but found a better price for beeswax at Jas.Townsend.com
  2. rustle up a few jars and a big pot for boiling water, it is important to have your wax in jars in water, never right on the heat source
  3. have helpers happily hack the wax into chunks
  4. melt the wax, in jars, in a pot of boiling water
  5. meanwhile-cut wicks twice as long as 1 candle + extra for hanging them over the drying pole
  6. then-erect a drying pole, hopefully right over your dipping station area
  7. and-set up your dipping station, wax proof paper on the bottom, then a hot pad or rag to put the jars of melted wax on, have a few extra pads or rags around
  8. keep an eye on the wax ,when it has melted remove it from the hot water and let it cool for a bit, if you dip when the wax is too hot it just melts the previous coat right off-LAME!!
  9. we actually set up a system-we had two smaller jars and as the wax was used we added more wax from a quart jar that was already cooling
  10. then as we dipped a set of wicks we placed them to the far right on the drying pole and then added sets to the left
  11. as the row filled up we just removed the farthest out pairs, re-dipped them and moved them to the left end of the pole then began filling in behind them, this way the candles cooled before we dipped them again, repeat, repeat, repeat...
  12. as far as clean up went we simply let the wax cool in the jars and then they are ready to melt again, I washed the big pot with pretty hot water to melt out any wax residue and we set the cooled jars of wax in a basket and put them on the craft shelves, with the wicks and any rags that are too waxy to use for other things
St. Brigid's day was brought to me by my re-enactor husband. She is a Patron Saint of Ireland or a Triple Celtic Goddess, depends on you and your beliefs I guess. In either case she is associated with perpetual sacred flames(Brigid), healing, craftsmanship, poetry which are considered the flame of knowledge(ST. Brigid). Some people believe that St. Brigid was a fictional character made up to turn the Celts into Christians, then again she could have been just named after the original Brigid. We usually trek out on St. Brigid's Day to light a candle at a little alter in our woods, I can't wait to take out a hand dipped candle this year and light it.

Candlemas is celebrated on the second of February, it's a cross quarter day, half way between solstice and equinox. Traditionally this is the time of year when you begin to see the days getting longer. It's also the Feast of Presentation and the day when churches would have their candles blessed. I found this poem that I like quite a bit, I wish I knew who wrote it:

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will another fight
If Candlemas Day brings clouds and rain
Winter won't come again

If Candlemas Day be dry and fair
The half o the winter's to come and mair
If Candlemass be wet and foul
The half o the winter's gane at Yule

Of course February second is also groundhog day, which I don't really care for but lots of other people do, including wee folk in this house.

So as you can see there is a lot wrapped up in these first couple day of February. Depends on your religion, beliefs and your preferences, what you take notice of and celebrate. Me, I prefer to mix it all together. I take joy in the sun returning, longer days and the retreat of winter. I dip candles with my kids and light one for St. Brigid. And I smile at poor old Puxatawney Phil who looks crankier every year.



Peace and Love,




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6 comments :

  1. You are such a good mom. When are we going to see YOU in one of the photos?

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  2. this is just amazing..

    Happy Monday.

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  3. What a fun day and the candles look great. I've heard of Candlemas but didn't know anything about it, how fascinating!

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  4. I've never heard of St. Brigid's Day or Candlemas and I'm full-blooded Irish! For shame!

    I'm glad you posted about it. :)

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  5. Looks like fun! I took a candle class in November and loved it!
    Last year I taught a St. Brigids craft class - well, I would have if anybody signed up for it. :( We were going to make celtic crosses.

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  6. I made candles a few times and had so much fun. I haven't done that in... forEVER. When we did it, we always dipped the bottom half twice for each time the top half was dipped and then squished it a little so that it had a bit of a base. And the waxy rags? Did you try ironing them with a paper bag between the rag and the bag to pull the wax out?

    So fun!

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