Romanians light candles for the living and the dead, at weddings and christenings _ or when there is a power cut.
Most candles are lit in or around churches and the Romanian Orthodox Church has an unofficial monopoly on the production of beeswax and other candles used for religious purposes.
Some churches even tell believers that non-church produced candles have no spiritual effect.
Yet, Romania produces far fewer candles than other European countries, more than 700 times less than in Poland, where the Catholic Church is very strong.
And Romania isn’t the only Orthodox country where candle production is low. Bulgaria and Greece produce far fewer candles than other European countries.
Poland is Europe’s top candle producer with 619 million euros worth of candles produced last year, Eurostat reported Friday. That’s an impressive 38% of the total market.
Germany and Italy, another strongly Catholic country, produced 164 million euros worth of candles last year.
Although candles play an important part in the Orthodox faith and are readily available in supermarkets and elsewhere, Romania managed to produce just 850,000 euros. Meanwhile, it imported 27.5 million euros of candles.
Greece, another strong Orthodox country produced just 2.4 million euros worth of candles, and Bulgaria which has a population of just 7 million produced 3.5 million euros.
The statistics showed that candle production has risen and was worth 1.64 billion euros last year, a 11% increase since 2013.
Last year, EU members imported 1.57 billion euros worth of candles, three-quarters from EU countries. Non-EU countries included China, the U.S. and Vietnam.
Britain, where candles are popular household items, is the largest EU importer of candles from outside the bloc followed by the Netherlands.