Advent this year begins on Sunday 29th November and continues until Christmas Eve. Advent signifies the beginning of a new liturgical year and, as with all New Year celebrations, we look forward with hope and anticipation to a new beginning. Advent is a season that is focussed on waiting and looking forward to Christmas “when God broke into time and space and entered our world.”
The tradition of the Advent wreath goes back to medieval times and each part of the wreath has special significance. The base of the wreath is made of evergreens, is circular and signifies continuous life – there is no beginning or end, God is eternal and the soul is immortal. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent and one is lit each Sunday. Three are purple because the colour mauve is the liturgical colour which symbolises a time of prayer, penance and sacrifice. Candle one symbolises hope. The second represents faith. The third is pink and symbolises joy. The final candle is sometimes called the Angel’s Candle and symbolises peace. In a modern innovation, sometimes a white candle called the Christ Candle is placed in the middle of the wreath on Christmas Eve to represent the life of Christ. The colour white is for purity.