“It’s the night that makes the dawning. / It’s the depths that make the heights. / It’s the roots that make the branches / It’s the darkness that gives birth to Light.” (Joel Heathcote, The Architect of Light)
Transmitting right from the yard of the primitive man I am looking forward to just meeting one. Yet, as far as I have been told the smell and the multitude of hair will clearly come to indicate me that I just came across one. This of course if we sort of draw a line between civilization and soap, civilization and “shaving machines” and wax and lighting means and all the rest…
Speaking about lighting I may as well crayon in my mind the image of thousands and thousands of candles burning to just make light, light which today we take as granted during the day and during the night too. Yet, there were some primitive times when light was not equally prevailing over the day and night and even if it was, at night people only had access to a dim light coming from the shining stars and the never absenting moon.
In a while people came to discover what we have come to use today just as an alternative means of making light…One name only: candles. These candles have come to traverse a pretty long way till today. It has been said that the first candles might have been simple lumps of animal fat set on fire, yet nevertheless reminding one of real torches lighting one’s way through the dark, this time as we have been told the outside dark.
Candles have traversed a long way till getting to be what they are today, meaning scented means of relaxation or waxy means of lighting our romantic intentions and sometimes our evenings populated by the above mentioned intentions. Yet while mentioning this I may as well choose to say much like Henry Youngman answered when being asked about the secret to a long and happy marriage “Some people ask me the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.”
Tuesdays or Fridays or the entire week, separately or together, married, divorced or single, candles are to be a part of our life. They certainly were not always as we know them today, being made from different things. First there was animal fat, the fat of beef and sheep being favored, then the technique of making candles certainly improved a lot as soon as the wax of bees entered the equation. It smelled better and it certainly caused less smoke.
The history of scented candles started with some berries, berries that borrowed some of their sweetness to the wax later on shaped under the form of candles. It sufficed to just boil the berries, the fruit of bayberry bushes to just have the respective wax. Like always nature proved to be helpful. Yet, the process of candle making was not that easy as it may sound. Yet, when ready that candle burnt light.
And just in case berries sound rather weird to you when talking about raw materials being used in the making of candles, then you should wait till being told that sperm whale oil resulted in some wax equally well used in the making of candles. And finally there came paraffin, which is still in use today, often mentioned when the connoisseurs start sharing information about the process of candle making.
And though to many making candles may sound trivial and not a proper job, according to various rumours there used to be a time when people fought to just be allowed to be part of the “industry” of candle making. And just in case you may wake up being uncertain of whom you should marry (that is if you wish to get married at some point and most importantly if you happen to be single and I know that in such condition most women find themselves involved in an almost never ending marathon, running for I know not what), then you may as well make use of a by now popular rhyme: “When I grow up, who will I marry, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker?”
If the last option stays valid then you may simply end up being surrounded by lots and lots of candles or just a job smelling like wax at all times. On condition that you have always included the smell of wax on your list of likes, no trouble here…
Though today candles get to be associated most often with the idea of romance and perhaps the many fragrances they share fully entitle us to think so, I think we cannot be blamed if we happen to just not be able to see anything romantic in the fat of animals initially used to lighten the way of early men. How about a job that would require you to “Keep a stock of grease and fat taken from animals”, making sure that one would not make improper use of this fat but instead use it to make candles propagating a warm, soft light over the surrounding things? And just if you move your brows now, frowning in unbelief then being told that there used to be such a man at the court of King Edward the IV…would make you frown more or regain your serenity (if lost at any time)…
With or without candles, scented or unscented, smoke releasing or smokeless…modern man has got to have the chance to make his choice…11