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I was setting the table for our Christmas Eve dinner today and I put new tapers in the Santa candle holders. Of course, I lit the wicks first and then blew them out and trimmed them to 1/4 inch.
My mother always told me to do this (she was big on etiquette), but I never knew why. I figured it had to do with the fact that the candles would light more easily, when the wick had been burned once.
So, I did what any reasonable person getting ready for the family would do: I Googled it.
According to my fellow blogger, “A Merry Rose,” this is the correct reason. Interesting. She says this:
“You may have heard that you should burn the wicks on candles before setting them out on the table. The reason for this, I hear, is that when electric lighting was new, not everyone had access to it or could afford it. Therefore, hostesses who did have electric lights would burn the tapers on their candlesticks to make it look as if they, too, still used candlelight frequently. They didn’t want to call attention to the fact that they had the luxury of using light bulbs rather than candles if they wanted to. In this way, any guests at the party who could only use candlelight would not have to be ashamed of issuing a return invitation. If this is the origin of the principle, it was a lovely thought. However, it wouldn’t be so vital today. If you are a traditionalist, burn the wicks on your candles just a bit before placing the candles on the table to be used.”
If you get a kick out of the various rules of etiquette, and how they came to be, you can find out more with her blog.
I’ve got a cute little joke for you:
A young woman was cooking her first leg of lamb, so she cut part of the bone off, as her mother had taught her. She asked her mom why she did this.
Her mom said, “I don’t know; probably because my mom always cut that part off.”
So the young woman and her mom called the grandma and asked her why she cut off part of the leg bone.
“Because the pan was too short,” Grandma said.
I hope you have a Very, Merry Christmas!