Once every six (or so!) years, we have the opportunity to celebrate Candlemas as part of the liturgy as it falls – as it does this year – on a Sunday. Candlemas is a beautiful celebration, rich in tradition, and is symbolic of Christ being our light.
So what’s Candlemas? Forty days after Jesus was born, his mom and dad, Mary and Joseph, brought him to the temple as was custom in that day. Simeon, who was one of the elders at the temple, held Jesus in his arms and calls him “a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people of Israel.” We remember Christ as OUR light through the symbolic blessing of candles. Many many years ago, townspeople brought their entire year’s worth of candles to Mass for the Candlemas blessing. Now, thanks to modern electricity, we have alternate sources of power (though not quite as romantic, just saying) that have overshadowed this tradition. However, many churches still do celebrate Candlemas with a blessing of candles which their parishioners bring from home as part of the liturgy.
We were excited to participate in the Candlemas blessing at our church this year, so we got together with our friends (absolutely love our Moms & Kids ministry!) and rolled some beeswax candles. This is such a great opportunity for the kids to be able to take the candles THEY made and bring them to Mass for the blessing! You can even start the morning before mass off with some yummy candle pancakes to reintroduce the candles and purpose behind what the children will be a part of at Mass.
Rolled beeswax candles are so easy that – literally – even a two-year-old could make one (They did. Then they destroyed them. Kids.) The great part about beeswax is it becomes pliable with just a touch of heat – so run your hairdryer over the beeswax before you roll it and voila! -it will take on and hold a great shape.
These candles are great for celebrating not only Candlemas but can add a little romance to St. Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner. Save some of the purple and rose sheets, and you can add them to your Advent Wreath. Voila!
WHAT YOU NEED
- sheets of beeswax (I bought this sampler pack and love it)
- wicks (if you buy the above sampler pack, it COMES with wicks. Score!)
- sharp knife/blade
- hairdryer (optional but recommended)
HOW TO MAKE
1. Determine what kind of candle you want to make. There are so many options, like this or this. With most of our kiddos being between the ages of 2-4, we kept ours pretty simple and made mostly tall thin tapers or short pillars. Short…you know…like the attention span of a 2yr old making candles.
2. Once you determine the kind of candle you want, trim the beeswax as appropriate. You’ll see above we cut the beeswax sheet in half to make a short pillar candle. I’d recommend using a blade as opposed to scissors as the wax gets stuck in the blades of the scissors. Not good.
3. Trim the wick to stick about 1″ above the height of the candle, and tightly press the wax around the wick to hold it in place. This will start your roll. Gently roll the beeswax until you reach the end.
TIP: This is where the hairdryer comes in handy – you may want to heat your wax a bit to soften it, as it will help the candle stay tightly together. While they’re making their candles, be sure to explain what they’re doing and why they’re making them.
4. Once done, enjoy! Remember, never leave a candle unattended. Bad things happen.