The Advent Wreath
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The Advent Wreath is a Christian tradition that symbolizes the passage of the four weeks of Advent.
It is usually an evergreen wreath with four or five candles.
Beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, the lighting of a candle is accompanied by a prayer.
An additional candle is lit during each subsequent week until, by the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are lit.
Some Advent wreaths include a fifth, "Christ" candle, which can be lit at Christmas.
The most popular colours for the Advent candles are purple and rose. In the
Western church, purple is the historic liturgical colour for three of the four Sundays of Advent: once the colour associated with royalty, it
symbolizes Christ as the "Prince of Peace." Rose is the colour for the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday from the Latin word "rejoice."
Gaudete Sunday anticipates the joy of the Christmas celebration, so its colour is a mixture of Advent purple and Christmas white. The white candle in the centre symbolises Christmas, sometimes known as the "Christ candle" and can be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
The accumulation of light over Advent is an expression of the growing anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world, the circular wreath represents God's eternity and unity, and evergreens are a symbol of enduring life.
Published Fri 13th Dec 2013 12:06:10