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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Before it was Groundhog's Day, February 2 was celebrated across Europe and South America as Candlemas. This Christian holiday, in turn, had roots in pagan customs regarding the return of spring. According to a traditional rhyme, "If Candlemas Day be Fair and Bright, Winter will have another flight; If on Candlemas Day be shower and rain, Winter is gone and will not come again." Sounds familiar, right? Anyway, besides watching the weather, the main activity on Candlemas was a blessing of the candles that families would use during the coming year (thus, the name). While candles were once a necessity, they have always been something of a status symbol as well, since burning them late into the evening could get expensive quickly. Today there are a wide range of synthetic candles on the market, but rich, natural, honey-scented beeswax is still a luxury any way you look at it. Knorr Beeswax produces an amazing range of pure beeswax candles in a variety of different styles. The European drip candles, shown above, produce hours of warm light, and range from $12 to $165. These purple flame candles ($17) are another favorite of mine. Looking for something a bit more understated? There are plenty of simple tapers and pillar candles, too.

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