About Candle Tea
THE CANDLE TEA, which is held each year on the first Saturday in December, has become a tradition in Raleigh and features Christmas musical performances, trimmed beeswax candles, the Putz, Advent stars, cookies, sugar cake and coffee.
THE HOSTESSES for the Tea are dressed in costumes patterned on a style followed by Moravian women of the mid-1700's. The ribbons worn on the small white cap reveal the wearer's status: blue ribbons being worn by married women, pink by unmarried girls and women, red by little girls, and white by widows.
SUGAR CAKE AND COFFEE are the refreshments served. The sugar cake is a rich yeast-raised coffee cake of German origin and the coffee is served creamed and sugared as it is at Lovefeasts. A typical Moravian Lovefeast is primarily a service of hynms during which a simple meal of coffee and sweetened buns is served to the congregation who eat together as a symbol of brotherly love.
THE BEESWAX CANDLES are distributed to those attending Moravian Christmas Eve Lovefeasts and have a threefold symbolism: the flame symbolizes Christ as the Light of the World commanding us, His followers, "Let your light so shine ... "; the beeswax represents the purity of life Christ lived and to which he calls Christians to live; and the red color of the paper trimming symbolizes the blood of Christ.
THE PUTZ or Nativity Scene (pronounced "puts") is a tradition brought from Germany by the early Moravians. The word comes from the German verb "putzen" which meant "to decorate", especially to decorate a church. Moravians have always been vitally interested in education and they early realized that the best way to teach children was through what we now call "audiovisual" methods. Hence, each family built its putz every December to help the children appreciate more fully the woundrous story of Christmas.