candlesCandles and oil lamps were the most common sources of lighting prior to the domestication of electricity. Candlemakers were known as “Chandlers”. For thousands of years, candles have been used by humans to extend “the day” and to dispel darkness and gloom. Candles affect us on a number of different levels. Gazing into a flame is a mesmerizing and calming experience, relaxing both body and mind.

Until the 19th century candles were common in northern Europe, while olive oil lamps were more common in southern Europe and around the Mediterranean.

Because a candle throws light on a relatively small area, it creates a sense of intimacy among those basking in its glow. On a sensual level, candles induce a sense of warmth, even though they emit very little heat. A candle can also capture the eye through the beauty of its color and design, which are enhanced by the flickering flame. Aromatic candles add more pleasure to the mix by appealing to your sense of smell.

candlelit bathScented candles create a romantic atmosphere during intimate evenings at home, and are valued gifts to the special people in your life.

The study of how scents affect the central nervous system is centuries old. Modern day aromatherapists can evaluate a client’s situation and prescribe a solution in one short consultation. Aromatherapy candles can be used in the same way as essential oils to change a person’s frame of mind in a calm and non-threatening way.

To help a person feel calm, use a candle scented with chamomile. A lavender candle will induce a feeling of serenity. To help someone who is worn out, give him or her a sandalwood candle. To lift someone who is down, give a candle scented with ocean breeze.

Candles are often used to enhance quiet thinking, and suitable types include chakra candles and Feng Shui candles. Meditators often use an aromatherapy burner fueled by tealights or votive candles.

Give highly scented candles to someone who enjoys taking baths by candlelight. Choose soft colors or neutral shades for people who love to relax. Give strong colored candles to people who love to celebrate.

birthday candlesCandles are regularly used in ceremonies such as christenings, birthdays, weddings and graduations. Most candles are made from beeswax, paraffin, soy, gel or other materials such as resins. You can purchase clean burning soy candles if you or the people around you suffer from hypersensitivity.

Candles in decorative containers such as glass, wire or steel vases All of these, with the possible exception of character shapes, make great sensuous gifts.

Even a character shaped candle can be romantic if it has a particular significance. For example, a candle shaped like a snowman can remind her of the night you fell in love while building a snowman in her parents’ yard.

Most women love candles of any kind, and men who take pride in their surroundings will also appreciate a beautifully crafted candle.

When choosing a romantic candle, keep in mind the design pallete the person favors in his or her home. Don’t give her a sparkling blue candle if her living room is decorated in shades of salmon. Don’t give him a red candle if his apartment is painted in olive tones.

Go for clean, classical lines when you buy, like elegant tapered candles or classic round candles, either big or small, in clear, beautiful colors. You can buy a more extravagantly decorated candle if you know the person will absolutely love it. Or you might buy a fun candle for someone with a great sense of humor.

If you’re absolutely stuck, buy a neutral color. If you know the person well, you might choose a candle that fits in with his or her interests. A zodiac candle will thrill an astrology buff, while a pyramid candle will please an Egyptian history enthusiast.

You can find a whole range of candle containers that feature dolphins, butterflies and other motifs that make for an excellent personalized gift. Choose a highly scented candle that features one of their favorite scents.

Today, waxes are used primarily for their aesthetic value, particularly to set a soft, warm, or romantic ambience, and for emergency lighting during power failures. Scented candles are common in aromatherapy. And of course, what would a birthday cake be without at least one?

Rechargeable candles have become very popular due to their convenience, safety, and low cost.

In Christianity, they typically represent the light of Jesus, and are often placed on the altar. Votives may be lit as an accompaniment to prayer. They are lit by worshippers in front of icons in Orthodox and other churches. Candlemas marks the end of the season of Epiphany.

Traditionally used to light up Christmas trees before the advent of electric lights. They are still, even today, commonly used to decorate Christmas trees in Denmark and other European countries. They are also used in Advent wreaths.

In Sweden (and other Scandinavian countries), St. Lucia Day is celebrated on December 13 with the crowning of a young girl with a ring of light.

In Judaism, they are traditionally lit on Friday evening at the start of the weekly Sabbath celebration. The Jewish holiday of Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by lighting a special candelabrum (menorah) each night during the eight-day holiday to commemorate the dedication of the altar in the Temple in Jerusalem. They are also used in remembering a deceased loved one.

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