What are daily rituals?
Aristotle once said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do’ and in such an unpredictable, fast-moving world, there’s something critical and comforting about living in a rhythm, particularly for children. Rituals ground and stabilise us and keep us focused and purposeful. They increase confidence, provide us with a sense of safety and security, alleviate the weight of grief, and research continues to reveal that rituals help reduce anxiety. And above all, rituals are a sure-fire way to increase joy. They elevate our quality of life and propel us forward. We can also count on them as lovely little reminders of what we care about, keeping us in close proximity to our purpose. You see, there is something that ignites in all of us when we live with ritual. They give us a rhythm we can dance to, and the more we perform rituals because of the values we hold, the stronger our values become.
We here at Happy Flame are in the business of helping to create mindful and intentional everyday rituals that buffer against uncertainty and anxiety and bring more joy. This is where candles come in! Seriously, add a candle to your daily ritual, and it’s a game-changer, elevating them to a whole other level.
Driven by the element of fire, candles lift rituals, boiling water for a cup of tea or singing over candles on a birthday cake or whether it’s burning a love letter into ash. When you light a candle, you’re cementing what you hold dear.
What are our favourite everyday home rituals?
At our core, people are social creatures with an innate need to come together. Performing group or family rituals helps connect us and gives us powerful ways to love. Here are three of our favourite and important home rituals:
Dinner time routines
Light a candle or two, and in this lighting, watch how a candle can bring everyone together and slows everyone down. The soft flickering light makes you feel calmer, the ambience more tranquil, people speak softer, the meal takes longer, and in our experience, sharing a meal with limited lighting can heighten your other senses making the food taste better. Dim lighting, as owners of romantic restaurants have always known, puts people in indulgent moods.
But besides the tranquil element of candles, a certain kid-wrangling takes place when a parent stands at the head of the table and announces, ‘I’m lighting the candles’. Then, watch, out of the bedrooms, kids appear like moths to a flame. Kids are drawn to candles, and in all likelihood they will stay seated or at least have some contact with their chairs for most of the dinner. It could be the magnetism of the primal elements or the human equivalent of what makes deer stare into car headlights, but whatever you call it, kids love to gaze at flickering candles.
I also love how lighting a candle at the start of each meal signifies that the meal is starting, just like blowing it out at the end of the dinner shows that it's time to leave the table (even if the kids want to blow them out in new and exciting ways each time). Either way, the meal feels much more pleasant with a candle.
Bedtime is all about the hygge factor, the Danish word that was never meant to be translated but rather felt. Broadly, hygge is about taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about - or even by yourself - to relax and enjoy life's quieter pleasures. Hygge emanates feelings of contentment and comfort, and the simple act of lighting a bee’s wax candle while settling down for the night is perfect for hygge, signalling to the body that the sun has gone down and it is time to unwind, relax and get cosy. Then comes the comfy PJs, brushing of teeth, a soft blanket, a cup of tea, and time to crack open a good book, say a bedtime prayer, and sing a bedtime song for children. Then, when the candle is blown out, children know this signifies the time to sleep. Research tells us that by performing the same routines every night, the brain sees those activities as a precursor for healthy sleep and stimulates the calmness of the mind.
*On a little side note, did you know that the Danish uses more candles per capita than any other country in the world? 28% of Danes light candles every day.
What is your ritual time? How do candles help you time out?
Here are a select few of our candles perfect for everyday ritual and reverence: