Candles feature prominently in just about every Scandinavian home, by the hundreds. The Danes have something called ‘huga huga’ which is a special way of saying, “A warm and cozy atmosphere.” During the long winter nights, candles are are put on window sills to give a sense of peace and much needed light. Even during the long summer days, restaurants will light small candles because Scandinavians recognise that candles create a warm and cozy atmosphere so conducive to friends and families meeting up. An establishment is incomplete if it doesn’t have an array of candles in every corner.
For the rest of the world, candles feature in an multitude of settings. The most public spaces where candles are emphasised are during special occasions such as in religious observance or ceremonies. Candles are crucial in these settings since their flames have long been the symbols of spiritual light no matter the faith. Monks use candles to meditate, Christians use candles to pay homage to Saints while Jews use candles to strengthen their connection to the Righteous and for Sabbath ceremonies. The list goes on.
On a business level, candles appear to be relegated to business lunches and dinners but are nonetheless important. Along with wine and food, candles create an atmosphere that oils the wheels of networking and business deals. Though candles in this type of setting serve as background support, it’s hard to imagine an elegant business dinner without them.
In contrast, the personal home life takes the use of candles to a whole new level. A huge market has sprung up offering such a diversity of candles in different shapes, sizes and scents to cater to individual tastes. The variety of colours of today’s candles can go with just about any dinnerware or any decor in any season. Scented candles have become a firm favourite in homes for aesthetic reasons as well as for utilitarian reasons. Scented candles can simultaneously neutralise garlic and fried onion smells emanating from a busy kitchen whilst also creating a pleasing aromatic scent for the members of the house to enjoy.
Or, candles can simply be used to create a personal sanctuary by simply lighting candles and dimming the lights – and not much else. The rest is left up to the creator’s imagination.
No matter the use, there are candles to compliment everything.
Tim Aldiss Writes for Yankee Candle UK