Der Adventkranz – The Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath, is a Christian tradition that symbolizes the passage of the four weeks of Advent in the liturgical calendar of the Western church. The ring or wheel of the Advent wreath of evergreens decorated with candles was a symbol in northern Europe long before the arrival of Christianity. The circle symbolized the eternal cycle of the seasons while the evergreens and lighted candles signified the persistence of life in the midst of winter.
In family practice, the Advent wreath is lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food.
In Catholic churches, the most popular colors for the Advent candles are purple and rose. In the Western church, purple is the historic liturgical color for three of the four Sundays of Advent: once the color associated with royalty, it symbolizes Christ as the “Prince of Peace.” Rose is the color 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 color is a mixture of Advent purple and Christmas white. It may also symbolize the color of early dawn.
In Protestant churches it is more common to use four red candles (reflecting their traditional use in Christmas decorations) because rose vestments and decorations are not commonly used in Protestant churches.