Is Reusing Birthday Candles Bad Luck?

Ah, another year around the sun. This calls for a celebration! Time to buy a delicious cake and throw a birthday party. We have the guests, the ice cream, the gifts. And, don’t forget the most important part – the birthday candles! After all, you can’t have a proper birthday party without singing “Happy Birthday” and blowing out the candles. Maybe you’re wondering, is it bad luck to reuse birthday candles? Well, get ready to learn all about superstitions around reusing birthday candles.

A Little Bit Of History About Birthday Candles

But first, let’s explore a little about the history of birthday candles so we know where the tradition comes from. Believe it or not, people have been putting candles on cakes for many years. The most common attributed source is the Ancient Greeks when they would celebrate the goddess Artemis’ birth with cakes that looked like the moon with the candle in the middle representing the light from the moon. There are also many Pagan traditions linked to this practice as well which we’ll talk a little more about in the next section.

However, there was a documented case of candles being placed on a cake during a Count’s birthday in Germany in 1746. By the 1800s, there were several accounts of the practice in both Germany and Switzerland. People were pretty impressed by these memorable parties with cakes and candles! It’s important to remember back then both were a luxury, some people lived their whole lives without tasting a cake. Can you imagine? That sounds pretty unlucky to me!

Either way, it’s easy to understand how the tradition started. And, so far, there’s nothing really to point to reusing candles being bad luck. But, there’s probably a little more to the story.

reusing birthday candles on cake
Make a wish!

The Elephant In The Room: Witchcraft And Candles

As mentioned previously, some believe the pagans originated the tradition of birthday candles. And, it probably predates the cakes! After all, ancient pagans believed that smoke would carry up wishes to the gods, and smoke offered some protection against evil spirits. And, we can’t forget witchcraft as well.

The history of witchcraft is pretty complex and shrouded in mystery often because its practitioners were not free to practice openly. So, we can’t say for sure that the history of birthday candles are related. However, in common practice of witchcraft, often candles are inscribed with incantations of what the person wishes to happen, dressed in oil and herbs, and lit during a ceremony. During this ceremony, spells are cast and intentions are set, after which the candle is often blown out and usually disposed of.

In other words, they make a wish and blow out the candle. Sounds familiar, right?

Often, it is bad practice to reuse candles for different spells. After it is blown out, the intention is set and the energy is used. After all, you want to bring in new energy and new intentions for a different matter, wouldn’t you?

Superstitions About Reusing Your Own Birthday Candles

So, in witchcraft a new candle increases the likelihood of your spell being successful as it brings new life to the ritual. Therefore, it makes sense that if you are wishing for a new, successful year for your birthday, you might want to use new candles. This is especially true if you want the wish you make over the candles to come true. Why risk it?

Of course, you are always free to believe what you want. For instance, if it’s the only candles you have and you’re unable to get more, it’s probably better to reuse the candles. But, when possible, you might just want to get new ones. After all, your wishes and good luck for the upcoming year are worth it. And, if you believe reusing candles is bad luck, then you might bring that to you subconsciously somehow.

bad luck to reuse birthday candles
Blowing out the candles are the best part of any birthday.

What About Reusing Someone Else’s?

Is it bad luck to reuse someone else’s birthday candles? Well, this one is a little different obviously, since someone else used the candle to make a wish. So, will yours come true? Or, will both of them? If we are to look at witchcraft practices to answer this question, the answer would probably be that it’s bad practice. If we believe in energy sent out like making a wish through a tool like blowing out a candle, using that same tool will carry the energy from the person who used it before.

Now, I get this can be pretty frustrating. Let’s say you’re a mom and you have a child who just turned 8, then two months later your next child turns 5. Do you really need to go out and buy new candles? Or have you cursed them both with bad luck for the year if you reuse them? In cases like this, I doubt any true, powerful wishes have been cast over the candles so it’s probably fine. As long as the younger doesn’t notice or care about the reuse, I couldn’t see any harm in doing so.

But, would I reuse Uncle Harry’s birthday candles that were used couple of weeks before your own? Absolutely not. You have no idea what kind of wish Uncle Harry was thinking of. And, you definitely don’t want that mixed up with your wish or your upcoming luck for the year!

Conclusion – Is It Bad Luck To Reuse Birthday Candles?

So, is reusing birthday candles bad luck? Well, probably. Let’s say you had the best year of your life. You won the lottery, met the person of your dreams, became super famous and loved and everything worked out wonderfully. If you want to relive that year again, then reuse the candles! Even that could get a little boring though, what if the next year was somehow even better? And, it might be a little strange to have to buy one single new candle though to get up to the right number!

However, if you want a fresh, new start with brand new wishes fulfilled, as most people do, then you might want to get new candles if possible! They’re pretty inexpensive these days and worth the ease of mind.

Final Verdict: Is reusing birthday candles bad luck? While not always in every case, in the overwhelming majority it probably is. So, it’s a Yes.

Further Reading