Whether we’re celebrating Christmas with a beautiful candlelight service, lighting a prayer candle and watching the words we address to God ascend with the smoke, or just placing a candle on the altar as a visual reminder of Jesus—the light of the world—candles often play an important role in our religious observances. But if the candles we choose are made with animal-derived ingredients or are tested on animals, we’re supporting cruelty while praying for peace on Earth. Here’s why cruelty-free candles—those that are vegan and not tested on animals—are best for our churches, our homes, and all the rest of God’s creation.

a candle burns warmly by an open bible

The beeswax used in some candles comes from the honeycombs bees make to store pollen, larvae, and the honey they need to survive the winter. Pollinators are in peril, but just as pig farms don’t help pigs, bee farms don’t help bees. After the industrious bees work hard to create a honeycomb and fill it with honey—each of them visits as many as 10,000 flowers a day—beekeepers steal it all. They often give the bees sugary syrup or other non-nutritious food, or they simply kill the entire hive of tens of thousands of bees.

a honey bee pollinates an apple blossom

Some candles are made of tallow (also called stearic acid), which is fat cut from animals’ bodies after slaughter. Paraffin wax is also used to make candles, and although it doesn’t contain animal-derived ingredients, it’s made from petroleum, coal, or shale oil—substances you likely don’t want burning in your church or home.

The good news is that candles made of soy wax or vegetable tallow are animal-friendly, better for our health, and readily available from companies like these:

Aveda

rosemary mint vegan soy candle from aveda

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

mrs meyers peony soy candle

NEST New York

nest new york driftwood and chamomile vegan candle

*****

PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies shopping database lists dozens of brands to choose from. And the PETA Shop always has several fragranced or fragrance-free candle varieties in stock.

peta shop kind heart lavender-bergamot candle

For you crafty do-it-yourselfers, PETA offers an easy step-by-step guide to making your own cruelty-free candles using your favorite scents. Attach a pretty label and you have a personalized homemade gift that your recipient will love.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:4-5

Let your cruelty-free light shine and illuminate the loving, peaceful world that God intended for all of us to enjoy.

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