If you, or a loved one are expecting, you might want to consider making birth candles part of your plans for the new arrival. There are two general types of birth candles, and both are typically pillar candles. The first is a personalized candle that is purchased or given as a gift after the baby is born. The candle can be personalized, since the baby’s name, gender and birth details are known. The second type of birth candle is rich with tradition, and is given in advance of the baby actually being born. . There is a very old custom, of lighting a candle when childbirth begins. It was thought that the world was evil, and that both the mother and infant were particularly vulnerable to harmful spirits during labor. The light of the candle provided gentle illumination, but was also for protection. Candelifera was the Roman goddess of childbirth. Her name means “candle bearer” or “she who brings candles”. She was invoked when childbirth started, with a candle being dedicated to her name, and then lit as the baby was brought into the world. In this traditional sense, the birth candle is not necessarily personalized, since the sex of the child may not be known. It is the candle and flame that is significant. There are a number of ways to integrate the tradition of a birth candle to the delivery of a baby.
1. Parents can use birth candles as birth announcements, for close friends and family. A personalized candle can be given as a gift to those close to the new baby.
2. Alternatively, friends or family can give a personalized birth candle to the new parents, as a decorative keepsake. The candle can incorporate the child’s name, date of birth, parent’s names, etc.
3. Birth candles can be a key theme of a baby shower. Each guest is given a birth candle, and a phone list is created. When labor begins, all the guests are called so they can light the birth candles as the baby comes into the world.
4. Send birth candles to those who are too far away to attend the shower or see the baby when it’s first born. It’s a great way to let them feel part of the process, even across the miles.
5. A special option would be to actually make the birth candles at a baby shower. The supplies for making candles are not expensive, and it’s a fun group activity that would be very meaningful.
6. It is possible to personalize the candle with the astrological sign, but remember that a baby that is born a few days early or later than predicted might actually have a different sign!
7. Color can be used very intentionally to customize birth candles. For example a white candle is for a visionary innovator; blue for the noble bringer of justice, orange for the joy-bringer, yellow for the clear-thinker/communicator.
8. If the birth candle has not been burned down very far, it can serve as a birthday candle in the future.
9. Eventually the candles will burn down to stubs, but they can be melted down to create a birthday candle for the child.
10. For families that are sensitive to soot or smoke, there are flameless birth candles. These obviously eliminate any risk of fire, and are also allowed in hospital rooms, for the delivery.