Bayberry Wax: Bayberry wax is produced from the berries of the bayberry bush, most commonly found in the northeastern US but also grown in the south. The wax has an odd olive green color and mild, sweet scent. It is very brittle and usually blended with beeswax. It takes about 15 pounds of berries to produce one pound of wax, making it very rare and expensive. Women began making bayberry candles in colonial times as an alternative to smelly, dirty animal lard candles. The bayberry wax burns longer and cleaner. They boiled the berries and skim the wax off the top of the water. Bayberry wax was so difficult to produce and the cost of the beeswax made it very expensive. ( It still is today, partly because the bushes are not as plentiful as in colonial times. Today most candles are scented with bayberry fragrance oil). For this reason, bayberry candles were only made at Christmas time and were given as a luxury gift.
Folklore and Legends: There are several legends or folklores applied to the bayberry candle. Bayberry candles are thought to bring luck and fortune to those who receive them as gifts.
Christians believe the light from the bayberry candle welcomes the Christ child into the home.
It is legend that if loved ones are separated at Christmas time the sweet scent of a bayberry candle will unite them.
The most popular belief is that bayberry candles bring joy and luck. When you give the gift of a bayberry candle, it should be accompanied by the poem: "This bayberry candle comes from a friend. So burn it down to the end. For a bayberry candle burned to the socket will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket." The candle should be lit on Christmas Eve (can also be on New Year's Eve) and must last till after midnight. It cannot be extinguished but must be left to burn down on its own. If it burns down to the socket, you will be blessed with a year of joy and good luck.
I hope everyone is blessed with joy and good fortune in 2017. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!