Traditions, especially holiday traditions, are treasured and are so important for our families. Holiday traditions are passed from generation to generation. The Candle Tea at the Single Brothers House in Old Salem is one of the most authentic and anticipated Christmas celebrations in North Carolina, and we are fortunate to have it right here in our city!
The Candle Tea is an annual Christmas event that the Women’s Fellowship of Home Moravian Church host to raise money for outreach activities, locally and globally. The Candle Tea presents the many customs that Moravians have used to prepare for the seasons of Advent and Christmas for hundreds of years.
The Candle Tea begins at the Single Brothers House that was first constructed in 1769. Guests are instantly greeted with the awesomeness of the large, hand-crafted, 110-point advent star; a symbol now used universally to indicate the beginning of the Advent season, or the four weeks before Christmas Day.
Fragrances are important within the Moravian customs—the piney fresh evergreens, the aroma of the love-feast coffee, the warm sugar cake, and the beeswax that is being molded into beautiful candles are just a few of the aromas you will experience at Candle Tea.
The preparation of the Moravian beeswax candles is a church tradition for both young and old. Children enjoy participating in the candle trimming, which entails a red ruffle being tacked around the base of the candles. The candles are used for lovefeast and candle services on Christmas Eve in Moravian churches. Over 7,000 candles in three sizes have been made by the women of Home Moravian Church in preparation for the start of Candle Tea. Candle making will continue as a demonstration throughout the Tea. Candles are offered for sale at the Regular Tea and school, and scout groups each receive a trimmed candle during their visit.
If you haven’t experienced a Christmas Eve lovefeast in the Moravian Church, you may want to consider adding it to your holiday tradition this year—but be sure to arrive early! It is a moving and beautiful service that concludes with the sanctuary being lit by beeswax candles held by the congregation, symbolizing Christ as the light of the world.
At Candle Tea, one of the highlights for guests is the large putz (which in German means “to decorate”) in the basement of the Single Brothers House. The first part of the putz is a hand-crafted miniature of the village of Salem as it looked around 1900 on a snowy Christmas Eve. The second part of the putz is a dramatic nativity scene composed of wooden figures hand-carved in Germany and donated to Candle Tea.
All of the decorations in the Single Brother’s House are designed and created by members of Home Moravian Church. At the front door, a 32-foot swag of live greenery is punctuated with elements the early Moravians had available—antlers, turkey & pheasant feathers, magnolia leaves, and cedar boughs.
The photos in this article of the decorations showcase the creative work of Susan Mickey, Home Church member. For ten years Susan has been the idea maker and organizer for the Candle Tea decorations—she has a lot of help from many volunteers, but the Candle Tea wouldn’t be what it is without her.
Candle Tea is held at the Single Brothers’ House in Old Salem / 600 South Main Street (Corner of Main and Academy Streets) / Winston-Salem / NC.
Thursday and Friday – November 29th and 30th, 2018
Thursday and Friday – December 6th and 7th, 2018
1:00pm – 8:30pm
Saturdays – December 1st and 8th, 2018
11:30am – 8:30pm
$1 Children 12 and under
Christmas Eve Lovefeast schedule:
December 24th 11:00am (children) / 2:30 (family)
5:00pm & 7:45pm
The first two services have a lower brass prelude, and the final two have a full band prelude. Doors open one hour before each service.
To learn more about the Candle Tea, visit homemoravian.org/candletea or call 336/749/9463