What is the history of the braided havdalah candle? Most of the sources I've found speak from an Ashkenazi perspective who usually used candles instead of oil for all lighting purposes. So is a braided candle a specifically Ashkenazi tradition?
You're supposed to use a candle with multiple wicks for Havdalah. The easiest, if not only, way to make candles like that is to braid them. Hence the braided candles. This wouldn't be just Ashkenazim, but anyone who uses a candle for Havdalah (as opposed to a oil lamp).