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The Candlestick Corner BLOG

...from candle-lit dinners to candle safety-first. A blog by Claire - Unique Candleholders

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Scandinavian Candle Tradition

....the candles and their holders

Posting date: 25th April 2007 21:53

Candles and candlemaking have been a long tradition in all the Scandinavian countries.

As with much Scandinavian design, the candles are known for their simple elegance. The most traditional are pure white and hand made or dipped. In order to give out a lovely yellow, sootless flame, the candles are made from paraffin with a bit of stearin. The stearin makes the candle burn longer and gives the white colour. The paraffin gives the lovely yellow flame.

Christmas is the most obvious time for the candles and candle holders to come out, but they are used to celebrate many traditional festivals. One very well known festival is on December 13, St Lucia's day - the "Queen of Lights". This is the beginning of the Christmas season.Traditionally the oldest daughter in each family becomes the "Lucy bride" for the day. She dresses in a long white gown and wears a crown made of twigs with 9 lighted candles. Torches are carried on a night parade which ends with a large bonfire onto which all the torches are thrown. In some towns, the "Lucy bride" is elected and goes on the parade, dressed in white with her chandelier.

This emphasis on candle light has spawned a whole array of traditional Scandinavian candleholders, now also frequently available with artificial electric "candles". The traditional candle holders are often brightly painted wood in red, green or black or blue. They come shaped as animals or centre piece curves that hold several small candles. These frequently have a Christmas theme - real candles are still used on Scandinavian Christmas trees.

As you might expect, the modern, miniimalist Scandinavian designers have transformed the traditional brightly coloured wood candleholders into very contemporary ranges such as that of Paul Stilling. Modern bright coloured glass votives by Alvar Aalton or Holmegaard are also contemporary expressions of the tradition.

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