Honey Candles® owner Roy Honkanen is Finnish Canadian. Several years ago, curious about their homeland and family they had never met, Roy and his brother travelled to Finland and they got to meet some of their relatives. It has come to my attention recently that there is a ‘candle’ tradition in Finland. In honor of Roy and his Finnish background I did some reading about that Finnish tradition and would like to share some of what I found.
In 1809 Czar Alexander of Russia was about to annex next door Finland as a province of his country. Due to the misgivings of the Finnish people he declared them a Grand Duchy of Finland under Russian rule instead. It was a good thing that it was that particular Alexander reigning at the time. In my study of Russian history I remember that Czar Alexander First was one of the least oppressive of the Romanov czars. This arrangement allowed the Finns to keep their traditions and culture. However, over the 100+ years of Russian rule in Finland influenced by several different czars the relationship was never completely satisfactory. The Russians ruled until 1917 when the revolution broke out in Russia. The revolution also came to Finland and the Finns regained their independence.
The Finnish families have not forgotten the difficult time under Russian rule and their fight for freedom. Every December 6, it is considered tradition for Finnish families to light two candles in each window to celebrate Finland's Independence Day. On that day the towns and villages of Finland celebrate with formal ceremonies, speeches and music. At 6 PM candles are lit and placed in the windows to remember those who have died fighting and as a show of patriotism. According to tradition, the candles are symbolic of the silent protest against Russian oppression. During the war, it also remained a signal for secretly sheltering Finnish soldiers from the Russian military.
In the Finnish Honkanen home where pure natural beeswax Honey Candles® reign, two beeswax candles burn in the window.
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