There’s a new religion afoot.

I’ve noticed more and more in the past few years, romantic scenes on TV don’t involve just a candle or two. There are dozens of votives, in clever little holders, often with mirrors to enhance the effect. Bathtubs are three deep in pillar candles – and might have those ones that float to boot.

I thought about this as I padded through Pier 1 the other day. There were pillars and tea lights galore, with stands made of glass and iron and mirrors, some holding seven or more candles. And did I gaze dreamily and imagine the lovely settings I could create? No. I shook my head and thought, “What a racket.”

It is Candleism, darn near its own religion. I am sure there are entire books about proper candle arrangement, although I dare not look, since I’m still twitching from the TV ad I saw yesterday for the store devoted to dog sweaters.

Sure, candles have their place. And speaking of religion, I’m certainly not going to dis candles, since we Catholics have such fondness for them. Light ’em at the altar! Light ’em for your loved ones! And don’t forget the huge one up front! I love my church for other reasons, but if you want ritual and trappings, man, we are the way to go.

In my home, I do have a few candles. Actually, I have three pillars I bought at Pier 1 – a year ago. I light one about once a month. Sometimes my daughter goes nuts and lights all three at once. Still, they’re lasting a good long time, and I didn’t feel compelled to add to the collection.

There are a few others around, sure. There’s another pillar given to me by a friend, a squat candle my daughter made, a kiwi-shaped one she brought back from New Zealand, and of course the ones in our Advent wreath. Then there’s the stash under the stairs for when the power goes out; they’re dusty.

Truth be told, I’m most likely to light a candle when something unfortunate has happened in the kitchen and I need to cover the smell. I have a pseudolemon votive that smells exactly like hand wipes for that occasion.

Not so romantic, huh? Note to husband: Skip the waxworks and go straight to the Godiva.

This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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