And there was light !

Discover the history of the candle

White natural wax candle with flame

Candles have undoubtedly been in fashion for a few years. From scented candles to handmade candles, to personalized candles, there is something for everyone! But what are their origins? In this article, we invite you to discover the history of the candle… a story that says a lot about the evolution of human cultures.

An ancestor: the candle

We find traces of the use of waxes and fats as fuels from the beginnings of Antiquity. Torches and oil lamps are perfect examples, but the origins of the candle are more on the side of candles. They were then made from split rush soaked in animal or vegetable fat. A practical and economical way to light up, but which also has its share of disadvantages… You have to maintain the wick, the flame is yellow, the candle smokes.

From the Middle Ages, people began to use beeswax to fuel church candles and light up stately homes. And for good reason, this fuel causes less smoke and odors than the mutton tallow or beef fat traditionally used. But it is rare and expensive… It was not until the 15th century that these luxurious candles became popular among wealthy citizens.

The appearance of the candle

The word candle does not appear in the French language until the 14th century. It comes from the coastal town of Béjaïa, Algeria, where much of the beeswax used to make candles came from. This is why in absolute terms, the term candle refers to instruments made from beeswax.

However, the candle as we know it today did not appear until the middle of the 19th century. It was at this time that the properties of paraffin and stearin were discovered, which allowed clean and homogeneous combustion. In addition, people began to use braided cotton wicks… These advances were decisive for the history of the candle.

The history of the candle: its uses from yesterday to today

If the candle has obviously had a practical function for a major part of history, it has since its beginnings accompanied ceremonies and rites, whether religious, folkloric or magical.

But nowadays, lighting systems have evolved and the candle is often limited to its decorative or recreational functions. For example, the tradition of birthday candles has gone down the centuries and remains very common in the western world. However, today, we mainly buy candles (scented candle, personalized candle, floating candle, etc.) to invite dimmed light and subtle scents into your home… In short, to create an atmosphere.

If modern candles are often made from animal fat or petroleum derivatives (such as paraffin), the artisanal candle is making a comeback... For scented candles and customizable candles, made with love from beeswax or of soy wax, discover our catalog 😊 !


Article by Gaëlle Dangeli