Bayberry Candle Legend

Have you ever heard the bayberry candle poem or tradition? Legend has it that a bayberry candle can bring you luck. I love bayberry candles and have always loved the scent. When I learned about the holiday tradition of sharing the prayer or poem with a friend, it became an annual thing for me.

You light the candle when the 1st star appears. Most importantly, you must time the lighting of the candle so it will stay lit until after midnight. Legend has it that will bring a year of prosperity and good fortune to the house.

Coal Region Connections
bayberry candle tradition

Do you do this? We do. I always thought a bayberry candle for luck was a coal region thing (my family is from Mt. Carmel and Shamokin). But I understand now that the bayberry candle tradition is a tradition for many heritages.

I love this Christmas tradition! For families like mine who are trying to not have so much stuff, it’s a great way to acknowledge friends at the holidays in a meaningful way.

I realize that this has nothing to do with IEPs, but here it is. Every year I give a holiday bayberry candle to a few people, and I hate just handing them a candle and explaining it to them. So I made up a printable. A good printable shouldn’t go to waste. Or be stored someplace on my computer where I cannot find it next year. So hey, turn it into a blog post!

Bayberry Candles

Bayberry Candle Tradition

What is the Bayberry Candle Tradition?

Legend has it the burning of bayberry candles during the Yuletide Season would bring wealth and good luck throughout the New Year.

When did the Bayberry Candle Tradition begin?

Burning a bayberry candle on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve has been a coal region tradition for generations.

Is the Christmas Eve bayberry candle tradition different from the New Year’s Eve bayberry candle tradition?

No. Both dictate that the candle be lit in the evening, when you see the first star. Both also say that it should be lit until after midnight.

Why is it a bayberry candle?

Bayberry candles are usually olive green in color and have a nice scent that permeates the house. Bayberry candles have been in North America since Colonial times. This is likely why they were chosen, as they were a special treat during the holiday season. May this legend come true for you.

When do you burn the bayberry candle?

On Christmas eve, New Year’s eve, or both!

When do you light the bayberry candle?

You usually light the candle when the 1st star appears. Most importantly, you must time the lighting of the candle so it will stay lit until after midnight. Again, legend has it that will bring a year of prosperity and good fortune to the house.

So how is it a friendship gift?

My late wife Nan would always exchange 2 bayberry candles for the Yuletide. That too is a significant tradition. The candles were often joined at the wick. During the candle exchange, each would recite the poem (below).

Is there a special way to burn it?

On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a tapered bayberry candle like those pictured below is burned. Trim each wick to a maximum length of 3/8″ before lighting. Failure to do so could lead to improper burning.bayberry taper candle

But we go to church on Christmas Eve!

For those attending candlelight church services on Christmas Eve or those heading out to party New Year’s Eve, be sure to burn the candle carefully on a dish inside a kitchen sink. DO NOT extinguish the candle (that’s bad luck). It must be allowed to burn out on its own. If the candle burns down to the socket, abundance will then bless everyone in your home. (but use common sense–don’t burn down your house)

What is the bayberry candle poem?

“These bayberry candles come from a friend. So on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve burn it down to the end. For a bayberry candle burned to the socket will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.”

Where can I find bayberry candles?

If I am out holiday shopping and see them, I grab them. They’re not really that common. However, in a pinch, amazon works too!

Bayberry Candle Tradition Poem-Printable

I have two versions of the printable. When you give your candles to a friend, you can print this and include it with a card.


If this good luck tradition is new to you, it’s not too late to buy a pair of bayberry candles and seek out a special friend to do an exchange. May this good luck legend come true for you.

Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas. May wealth and good luck and make yours a truly Happy New Year.


I hope you like this bayberry holiday tradition as much as I do. It’s simple, meaningful, and easy to do.

Special thanks to Coal Region Connections on Facebook for their assistance with this post.

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