The country has been told the chances of power cuts are low, but demand for old-school wax lighting is hot
Germans are seeking comfort in the warm yellow glow of open flames this Christmas, as a revival of festive traditions coupled with blackout fears make candles the target of the latest stockpiling frenzy.
On Sunday, many German households will follow tradition to light the first of four candles on their Adventskranz wreath, which is typically laid on or hung above the dining-room table.
But as fears of gas rationing and power cuts brought by Russia’s war in Ukraine stalk the land, candles have also undergone a revival as a reliable way to light homes. The home improvement retail chain Bauhaus said it was noticing a rising demand for “candles of all kind, including tea lights, wax and pillar candles”, with sales across the board up by around a quarter on the previous winter.
As the consumer protection association Environmental Action Germany (DUH) urged citizens to forgo US-style “lighting orgies” and leave their LED fairy lights in the attic this year, some Christmas tree vendors have started offering real candles as more energy-efficient alternatives to electric lights.
The public broadcaster ARD recently released a short video advising people against building DIY “tealight ovens” to heat their homes. The heat generated, it warned, was negligible compared with the potential fire risk.
Rising demand for candles was already one noticeable side-effect of people spending more time at home during the pandemic, said a spokesperson for the European Candle Manufacturers Association, with continent-wide sales jumping markedly between 2020 and 2021.
“We didn’t quite know what to expect this year,” said Ann-Kristin Müller of Müller Kerzen, a western German candle-making business operating across Europe. “But it seems to be the case that people are stocking up on candles ahead of an uncertain winter.
RELATED: Saving energy: People in Germany shiver at work
The German government has decreed that office temperatures should be limited to a maximum of 19 degrees C. But was this overhasty? It’s already clear that many employers and office workers need to turn the heating up.
In the southwestern German city of Ludwigsburg, the thermometer has recently been registering just 6 C (42.8 F) in the morning. But it isn’t a whole lot warmer inside the local branch of the savings bank.
Here, in this town of 90,000 just north of Stuttgart, the bank clerks are serving customers in a room heated to a bracing 19 C (66.2 F), the temperature that, for several weeks now, has defined German working life.
Since September 1, the whole country has been turning down the heating to save energy. Measures will remain in place until February 28, and people are getting creative in order not to freeze. This Ludwigsburg bank equipped its 500 employees with gray fleece jackets; black woolen gloves complete the look for the well-swaddled bank cashiers at the counter … Welcome to Germany’s new winter reality.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter