Candle tea kicks off the holidays in Raleigh

December 21, 2013 by  

For many Raleigh residents, the holiday season doesn’t get started until the Raleigh Moravian Church holds its annual candle tea. Both members and non-members alike look forward to the event, which features Moravian foods, a holiday bazaar, and Christmas carols sung by the area’s high school choirs. This year’s event was on December 7 and marked the 55th time the celebration has been held at the church.

The Moravian faith has a larger congregation in Winston-Salem, and was founded in the 1400s in what is now known as the Czech Republic. In 1958, church members in Raleigh decided to hold a candle tea to bring their traditions to the people of the city. Pastor Craig Troutman says the day is about nothing more complex than hospitality.

This year, church members served 600 cups of Moravian-style coffee, loaded with sugar and cream, to their visitors. They also cut over 1,500 slices of traditional sugar cake, which is made from a yeast dough with a thick crust of brown sugar. Attendees at the event also learned how to make the 26-point Moravian star, as well as how to make beeswax candles, which are trimmed with red ribbons of tissue paper. There were even classes in how to make paper-thin Moravian spice cookies. The hit of the day, however, was the sugar cake, which is difficult to make. Some people took home several to last through Christmas.

The church might consider working with brochure printers to create a mailer, describing this year’s bazaar and reminding people to mark their calendars for next year.