Advent Wreath is my favorite centerpiece of all times! I've come to appreciate this beautiful custom in Slovenia. Even though I don't remember who first introduced me to the idea - I sure am thankful! Then, I've been wondering for years why this aesthetically to-me-so-appealing holiday tradition isn't more popular in the US.
By the way, Advent season is the period of four Sundays/four weeks before Christmas. The word "Advent" stands for 'Coming' in Latin.
It's kind of unusual for me to not do a research on the topic of interest earlier. I guess I forgot my curious thoughts year after year - as soon as I lit the first candle on my homemade Advent Wreath four weeks before Christmas.
This year I am late with getting my best-loved December-holiday-season symbol. And I miss it dearly! So I decided to share my appreciation and knowledge of this lovely tradition in the meantime. Enjoy! 🙂
modern Advent Wreath was invented in Germany
"During Advent, children at the mission school Rauhes Haus, founded by Wichern in Hamburg, would ask daily if Christmas had arrived. In 1839, Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808-1881) built a large wooden ring (made out of an old cartwheel) with 20 small red and 4 large white candles.
A small candle was lit successively every weekday and Saturday during Advent. On Sundays, a large white candle was lit.
The custom gained ground among Protestant churches in Germany and evolved into the smaller wreath with four or five candles known today. Roman Catholics in Germany began to adopt the custom in the 1920s, and in the 1930s it spread to North America." Source
- The Advent Wreaths are circular for they represent God's, infinite love.
- Most often the evergreen leaves are used to make a wreath - as a symbol of eternal life.
- Four candles generally represent the four weeks of Advent time.
- Some Advent wreaths have the fifth, white candle in the middle. This last one is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Some homemade Advent Wreath ideas. They can be as fancy or as simple as you like!
Meaning of the four candles of advent
It's not important whether your Advent wreath includes four candles or five. Add as many as you like. After all, it's only a matter of preference. However, it's good to know that every individual candle represents one of the Christian (and in my opinion humanity in general) symbol:
- The first candle, lit on week one - is a symbol of HOPE.
- The second candle, lit along with the first one on week two - is a symbol of PEACE.
- The third candle, lit along with the first two on week three - is a symbol of JOY. Sometimes the third candle is different color than the other three.
- The fourth candle, lit along with the first three on week four or Sunday before Christmas - is a symbol of LOVE.
The fifth candle, when added to the wreath, is usually white (as in representing the Christ). It represents the arrival of Christmastide - and should be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Meaning of the Advent wreath's Candle Colors
- White - "The Christ candle is coloured white because this is the traditional festal colour in the Western Church."
- Blue stands for hope and waiting - which corresponds with the traditional meaning of the Advent season.
- Purple - "For denominations of the Western Christian Church, violet is the historic liturgical color for three of the four Sundays of Advent: Violet is the traditional color of penitential seasons."
- Rose or Pink is "the liturgical color for the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday from the Latin word meaning "to rejoice"—also from the first line of the traditional entrance prayer (called the Introit) for the Mass or Worship Service of the third Sunday of Advent; it is a pause from the penitential spirit of Advent."
- Red - "In other Protestant churches, especially in the United Kingdom, it is more common for Advent wreaths to have four red candles (reflecting their traditional use in Christmas decorations). The Advent wreath used by Pope Benedict XVI of the Catholic Church also had four red candles."
It must be clear to anyone by now that just like with all the DIY projects, you're free to let your imagination run wild - and experiment. Happy Advent season everyone! 🙂 Feel free to share with me Your home-crafted Advent Wreaths. I can't wait to see your creativity!!
No Candles advent wreaths
"In 1964, an Advent crown made at home from wire coathangers and tinsel, appeared on the bi-weekly children's TV program Blue Peter. This 'make' became one of the program's most iconic, repeated each year, and was the introduction of this tradition to most of the broadly Anglican audience. In later years, the candles were replaced by baubles, out of concern over fire."