Candles have been used in practical applications such as providing a source of light as well as for aesthetic uses for more than 5,000 years. Despite the amount of time, they have been a part of our culture and lives, we know very little about their origin. The earliest use of candles traditionally falls to the Ancient Egyptians, and ultimately, we achieved the rich diversity we see today when walking into any candle shop. But there are still many nuggets of truth that many people do not know or have not realized, and highlighted here are 11 interesting candle facts you likely never knew.

Candle Flame


What causes a flickering candle flame?

Simple flickering that occurs once in a while with a candle flame can simply be caused by tiny air currents and forces blowing against the flame, making it wiggle and dance. Flickering also can arise due to impurities in the wax when dust, soot, or wick fibers are bulled up to the flame where they affect the normal burn rate of the flame. Impurities in the wax itself can also affect how the flames react as it burns through the wax, and it can lead to a flickering effect at times.

What causes the different colors of the candle flame?

The colors that can be seen at times in the flame as it burns is often the result of various wax molecules that are not fully burned and consumed. Certain elements can cause the flames to glow in a variety of colors. It has also been shown in repeated experiments and tests that different parts of the flame burn at different temperatures, which can affect how the flame glows as well.

Does Vanillin discolor candle wax?

There are many ingredients that can go into making the wax base of a candle. Some are very simply with only a few ingredients and others can be quite complex in their formulation. One ingredient that can be found in candle wax at times is known as vanillin. There is a major downside to this ingredient is its propensity for oxidation. Exposure sunlight and even intense indoor lights along with the oxygen exposure that occurs during use can add a beige or brownish hue to the candle wax.

Does candle wax shrink?

When candles are made and poured into molds or jars, they must go through a cooling process. During this period of cooling, it is common for the wax to shrink and contract in size. This is normal as the molecules of the way shrink and harden. It is therefore common for a top off or additional pour of wax to be needed to complete the pour and fill the mold, jar or tin fully.

Melting wax in a microwave

Can you melt candle wax in the microwave?

While it is possible to melt wax in the microwave to liquefy it for coloring and pouring, this is not an advisable way to go about it. Microwave are notorious for pocket heating things- one area can be cold and the other area boiling hot. This can cause issues with the candle wax, making burning and discoloration likely, and it can also affect the pouring and formation of the candle itself. The risk of burns and fires are also much higher when using a microwave as opposed to a double burner method on a stovetop.

Do candles produce smoke?

The primary reason you may see black smoke coming from your candle is simply a case of the wick being too long. There may also be some debris in the wax that is getting burned when the flame on the wick touches the melted pool of was around it. Both of these situations can lead to an abundance of smoke being produced by the candle as it burns.

Will Freezing a candle make it last longer?

This is a debate that has gone on for a while and there are two sides to the answer to this question. Yes, for regular taper candles and those without jars, freezing the candle can give a little more burn time when the candle is used for the first time. However, with candles that are in jars and containers this can be dangerous. The freezing can crack and weaken the jars and if the candle and jar are still very cold when they are lit it can cause class and porcelain jars to crack or shatter.

Women with birthday cake

Why do we put candles on birthday cakes?

During the times of Ancient Greeks, round cakes were made and offered to the goddess of the moon, Artemis  Candles were used to simulate the moon’s glow to honor the goddess and when the offering ceremony was complete, the candles were blown out. The smoke that was created was seen as a direct connection to the goddess and was how the prayers and offerings went up to the heavens.

Why do we find candles to be romantic?

Low light and the flickering effect of candles has long been a soothing sensation for most people. We feel relaxed and more at ease and comfortable in our surroundings. Most people use candles to create a romantic and restful atmosphere, and it does work most times. However, we still do not fully understand why this effect is triggered, and it is something that is still being researched and studied.

can candles relieve stress? 

Another obvious and demonstrative effect candles have on us as humans is how relaxing we find them most of the time.  We may not fully understand why, but few people would comment that smelling their favorite scent can help sooth their mind and even help them feel better mentally and emotionally. Candles and related products such as essential oils are commonly used as part of meditation and therapy sessions for this very reason.

What causes the light from a candle?

We love candles because of how they look, yet most people do not fully understand the process involved with candles producing that soothing glow. Candles produce light by burning the wick material and heating up the wax. The wax moves up the wick and continues to fuel the burning process. This creates the flame and the temperature exchange and chemical reactions are what causes the glowing flame we have come to love.

Candles are everywhere and are something many people enjoy and take advantage of every single day. And now you can better understand and appreciate the wonder of these ancient creations and marvel at the impact that they have on our lives. Because really, there is nothing else quite like a candle.





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