The humble candle has been around for 1000s of years and the earliest surviving candles originated from China.
They were originally made from tallow and beeswax, until 1800s when they were made from spermaceti (whale oil) and purified animal fats. Nowadays, we use animal friendly materials such as paraffin wax.
Although, a candles main purpose was a source of light, these days we mainly use them for decoration (or when there is a powercut!).
Here is a nice collection of creative candle designs.