It’s that time of year again when stores start blasting Christmas music and the streets are adorned with twinkling lights. It’s also the time when many people celebrate Advent, a Christian tradition that encourages the faithful to prepare for the birth of Jesus. One of the most noticeable symbols of Advent is the Advent wreath with its four lit candles, each one representing a different week leading up to Christmas.
So, what do Advent candles symbolize exactly? The first candle represents hope, as it enlightens the darkness and announces the arrival of a new beginning. The second one stands for peace, as it represents the calm that comes with knowing that better days are ahead. The third candle symbolizes joy, as it represents the happiness that comes with the knowledge that redemption is near. The fourth and final candle represents love, as it represents the overwhelming affection that is felt by believers when they welcome the newborn King.
The Advent candles are more than just decorations; they hold great significance and meaning for those who observe this Christian tradition. With each passing week, they remind us that the wait is almost over and that salvation is just around the corner. They symbolize the hope, peace, joy, and love that Christmas promises to bring.
History of Advent candles
Advent candles have a rich history dating back to the medieval times. The Advent season was traditionally a time of preparation and waiting for the coming of Christ. The use of candles to mark the progression of the Advent season and countdown to Christmas began in Germany in the 16th century.
The first Advent candle was a large pillar candle, which was lit on the first Sunday of Advent and burned throughout the season. The candle was a symbol of the “Light of the World”, and was often decorated with symbols of Christ like chrismons or the Chi-Rho symbol.
- The use of four candles to mark the weeks of Advent began in the 19th century in Scandinavia. These candles were placed in an Advent wreath, which was typically made of evergreen branches and adorned with holly, pine cones, and other seasonal decorations.
- The four candles represented the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, and were often colored purple or blue. The first three candles were lit on the first three Sundays of Advent, and the fourth candle was lit on the fourth Sunday.
- Later, a white candle was added to the wreath and lit on Christmas Eve to symbolize the birth of Christ.
Today, Advent candles and wreaths have become a popular tradition in Christian homes and churches around the world. They serve as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of preparing our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ.
The use of candles to mark the progression of the Advent season is a beautiful and meaningful tradition that has been passed down through generations. As we light each candle, we are reminded of the hope, peace, joy, and love that Christ brings to the world.
Meaning behind the colors of Advent candles
The lighting of Advent candles is a cherished tradition in many Christian churches during the weeks leading up to Christmas. The symbolism behind the candles dates back centuries, and each candle has a specific meaning that is represented by its color. There are typically four candles lit during Advent, each representing a different aspect of the preparation for the arrival of Christ. The colors of Advent candles are usually purple or blue, pink, and white, and they all hold significant spiritual significance.
- Purple or Blue: The first candle that is lit during Advent is usually purple or blue in color. It represents hope, expectation, and preparation. The color purple is associated with royalty and penance, while blue represents the anticipation of Christ’s birth. During this time, Christians prepare their hearts and homes for the coming of Christ.
- Pink: The second candle lit during Advent is pink in color and represents joy. This candle is usually lit on the third Sunday of Advent, and it signifies the halfway point of the season. The color pink symbolizes the joy that Christians feel as they anticipate the birth of Christ and the beginning of a new year.
- White: The third candle that is lit during Advent is white in color and represents the purity of Christ. This candle is usually lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent, and it represents the final preparations for the birth of Christ. The color white symbolizes the purity, holiness, and perfection of Christ who is coming to save the world.
The lighting of Advent candles is a time-honored tradition that has deep spiritual significance for Christians around the world. It is a reminder of the coming of Christ and the hope, joy, and purity that he brings to believers. The colors of Advent candles reflect the different aspects of the season, and each candle has its own unique significance. Whether purple or blue, pink, or white, each candle is a symbol of preparation, anticipation, joy, and purity, making them an essential part of the Advent season.
The history and meaning of Advent candles and the colors they represent are fascinating. To get a deeper understanding of the differences in Advent candles across different Christian cultures, the following table summarizes their symbolism and dates of use.
|Color||Symbolism||Dates of Use|
|Purple||Hope, penance, royalty||First and second Sundays of Advent|
|Blue||Hope, anticipation, heaven||Used mainly in the Catholic Church|
|Pink||Joy, celebration||Third Sunday of Advent, also called Gaudete Sunday|
|White||Purity, light, holiness||Fourth Sunday of Advent, and also Christmas Day|
The significance of the Advent wreath
The Advent wreath is a traditional symbol used in many Christian churches during the Advent season. It consists of a circular wreath made of fresh evergreens or other materials, with four candles arranged around the outside. The wreath is typically hung in a prominent location, such as the front of the sanctuary or the home, and one candle is lit on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
The symbolism of the Advent wreath
- The circle: The circular shape of the wreath represents the eternity of God and the everlasting life promised to believers.
- The evergreens: Evergreens are used because they are a symbol of life in the midst of winter. They represent the hope of new life that is promised through Christ’s birth.
- The candles: The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Each week, an additional candle is lit as a symbol of the increasing anticipation and preparation for the coming of Christ. The colors of the candles can vary, but they often include one pink or rose candle to represent joy and one white candle to represent purity and light.
The significance of the Advent wreath in the Christian faith
The Advent wreath serves as a powerful visual reminder of the hope and anticipation that comes with the Christmas season. It is a symbol of Christ’s light breaking into a world of darkness and a reminder that we are called to be bearers of that light to others.
The lighting of the candles also serves as a time of reflection and preparation for the coming of Christ. It allows individuals and families to slow down and take time to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and the significance of Christ’s birth.
The history of the Advent wreath
The origins of the Advent wreath are not entirely clear, but it is believed that the tradition began in Germany in the 16th century. The use of candles to mark the weeks of Advent dates back even further, to the Middle Ages.
|3||Pink or Rose||Joy|
Today, the Advent wreath is used in a variety of Christian denominations and has become an important symbol of the Advent season. Whether displayed in a church or in the home, the Advent wreath serves as a powerful reminder of the hope, joy, love, and peace that come with the Christmas season.
Advent Candles in Christian Traditions
Advent, which originates from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “coming,” is a season observed in many Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent candles play a significant role in Christian traditions, especially in the Western church. These candles symbolize different aspects of the spiritual journey towards the birth of Christ and serve as a tangible reminder of the hope, peace, joy, and love associated with the Advent season.
The Meaning Behind the Four Advent Candles
In most Christian traditions, a wreath with four candles is used to symbolize the four-week period of Advent. Each candle represents one of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day, and they are lit in a specific order to reflect the spiritual themes of each week. The four candles are:
- The First Candle: This candle is typically purple or blue and is called the “Prophet’s Candle.” It represents hope, and it is meant to remind Christians of the prophesies about the promised Messiah in the Old Testament.
- The Second Candle: This candle is also purple or blue and is called the “Bethlehem Candle.” It represents peace, and it is meant to remind Christians of the humble circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.
- The Third Candle: This candle is pink or rose and is called the “Shepherd’s Candle.” It represents joy, and it is meant to remind Christians of the joy that the angels brought to the shepherds when they announced the birth of Jesus.
- The Fourth Candle: This candle is also purple or blue and is called the “Angel’s Candle.” It represents love, and it is meant to remind Christians of the message of love that Christ brought to the world and the love that Christians are called to share with others.
The Advent Wreath and Lighting Ceremony
The Advent wreath, which is typically made of evergreen branches, symbolizes eternal life and the unending love of God. The wreath is circular, representing God’s unending love, and the four candles are placed on top of the wreath. On each of the four Sundays of Advent, one of the candles is lit, with an additional candle being lit each week. In this way, the wreath and candles serve as a countdown to Christmas Day, with all four candles being lit on the final Sunday before Christmas.
|Week 1||Prophet’s Candle||Hope|
|Week 2||Bethlehem Candle||Peace|
|Week 3||Shepherd’s Candle||Joy|
|Week 4||Angel’s Candle||Love|
The lighting ceremony for each candle of the Advent wreath is typically accompanied by prayers, scripture readings, and hymns that reflect the theme of the week. It is a time for Christians to reflect on the meaning of the Advent season and to prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ.
In conclusion, Advent candles are an important symbol in Christian traditions, serving as a reminder of the hope, peace, joy, and love associated with the season of Advent. The lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath is a beautiful and meaningful ceremony that helps Christians to focus their hearts and minds on the true meaning of Christmas.
How to properly light Advent candles
Lighting Advent candles is an important aspect of the Advent season. To ensure that you are properly lighting Advent candles, follow these steps:
- Choose a suitable location for your Advent wreath, preferably in a communal area of your home.
- Place the candles in the appropriate order – three purple candles, one pink candle, and a white candle.
- Light the candle(s) for the appropriate week according to your traditions – typically the first purple candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle on the second Sunday, the pink candle on the third Sunday, and the final purple candle on the fourth Sunday. The white candle is lit on Christmas Day.
- Use a lighter or a long match to light the candles. Be careful not to burn yourself or set any flammable material nearby on fire.
- As you light each candle, take a moment to reflect on the meaning of the candle. You can use this time to say a prayer or share a reflection with those who are with you.
Following these steps will help you properly light Advent candles and fully embrace the meaning of the season.
Advent Candle Readings: What Do Advent Candles Symbolize?
The lighting of Advent candles is an age-old tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a significant part of the Christian faith that is observed by millions of people around the world every year. The lighting of Advent candles is a beautiful way to celebrate the coming of Christ and to prepare for Christmas. Additionally, the symbolism of Advent candles carries a deeper meaning that is worth exploring.
The Number 6: Symbolism of the Advent Candle Readings
The Advent wreath is composed of four candles that are accompanied by a fifth candle in the center. The fifth candle is known as the Christ candle. However, some Advent wreaths also include a sixth candle that is lit on Christmas day. The sixth candle represents the joy and hope that the birth of Christ brings to the world.
The number 6 is significant in the Bible and is considered a symbol of completeness or perfection in some contexts. For example, it took God six days to create the world, and on the seventh day, He rested. In Christianity, six is also associated with the power and glory of God, as described in several passages of the Bible.
Adding a sixth candle to the Advent wreath is a way to honor the completeness and perfection of Christ’s birth. Moreover, it reminds us of the joy and hope that he brought into the world. This candle serves as a symbol of the light that Christ brings into our lives and represents the ultimate goal of our faith- to be united with Christ eternally.
|First Candle||Purple||Hope and Expectation|
|Second Candle||Purple||Love and Preparation|
|Third Candle||Pink||Joy and Purity|
|Fourth Candle||Purple||Peace and Forgiveness|
|Fifth Candle||White||Christ Candle|
|Sixth Candle||White||Joy and Hope|
The lighting of the sixth candle on Christmas day marks the end of the Advent season. It brings joy and hope to our hearts and reminds us of the reason for the season. It is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and to reflect on the love and hope that he brings into our lives.
Overall, the addition of the sixth candle in the Advent wreath is a significant symbol that brings to mind the joy and hope associated with the birth of Christ. As we light the candles of the Advent wreath each week, we should reflect on the deeper meaning behind each candle and allow the light of Christ to shine brightly in our lives.
Different Types of Advent Candles
Advent is the season of preparation and anticipation for the coming of Christmas. One of the most visible ways that Advent is celebrated is through the use of candles. The lighting of candles each Sunday leading up to Christmas is a tradition in many Christian denominations. Different types of Advent candles are used, each with their own symbolism and meaning.
The number seven has significant meaning in Christianity, and it is often incorporated into Advent candle traditions. The seven candles of Advent represent different aspects of the coming of Christ, such as prophecy, Bethlehem, shepherds, angels, wise men, Mary, and Joseph. Each candle is lit in order on the corresponding Sunday of Advent. The first candle represents prophecy, the second Bethlehem, and so on.
Other Types of Advent Candles
- Four-Candle Wreath – This is the most common Advent candle tradition, with four candles arranged in a wreath. Each candle represents one of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
- Three-Purple and One-Pink Candle – A more modern tradition, this style of Advent candle uses three purple candles and one pink candle to represent the four weeks of Advent. The pink candle is lit on the third Sunday and represents joy.
- Single Candle – Some families or churches will use a single candle to mark each Sunday of Advent, lighting it to signify the week’s passing.
The Meaning of the Candles
Each candle in the Advent tradition carries its own special meaning. The first candle, for example, represents hope and is often called the Prophecy Candle. While the meaning of the candles may differ in various denominations and regions, they all carry a message of hope and anticipation as we prepare to celebrate the arrival of the Christ child.
|Shepherd’s Candle||Pink (or purple)|
|Mary’s Candle||Purple (or blue)|
|Joseph’s Candle||Purple (or blue)|
The beauty of Advent candles lies in their simplicity and meaningful symbolism. Whether you use a wreath, a single candle, or a different variation, the message is the same: hope, joy, love, and peace as we prepare our hearts for the birth of the Christ child.
Advent candle crafts and DIYs
Advent candles are an important aspect of the Advent season, symbolizing the waiting and preparation for the coming of Christ. Creating your own Advent candles and crafts can be a fun and meaningful way to engage with the season and express your faith. Here are some Advent candle crafts and DIYs to try:
- Candle making: Making your own Advent candles can be a fun and creative project. There are kits available at craft stores or online that include wax, wicks, and instructions. You can choose to make traditional purple and pink candles, or customize the colors to fit your personal style. Lighting these candles during the Advent season can be a special way to mark the passing weeks leading up to Christmas.
- Candle holder crafts: Creating your own candle holders for your Advent candles can add a personal and unique touch to your décor. There are many materials you can use, such as paper, wood, clay, or even found objects like seashells or rocks. Consider adding meaningful symbols or words related to Advent or Christmas for an extra layer of significance.
- Advent wreath DIY: An Advent wreath is a classic symbol of the Advent season, representing the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Making your own Advent wreath can be a fun and rewarding project. You can use a simple wreath form and add sprigs of evergreen, berries, or flowers, or get creative with alternative materials such as burlap or felt. Including spaces for the Advent candles, and marking each week with a new candle, can make for a beautiful centerpiece for your home.
Creating your own Advent candles and crafts can be a way to deepen your engagement with the season and express your faith in a personal and creative way. These projects can be a meaningful way to connect with the themes of Advent and prepare for the joyous celebration of Christmas.
Advent Candles in Modern Culture
Advent candles have been used for centuries as a symbol of faith, hope, and anticipation during the Christmas season. In modern culture, advent candles are still widely used and have become a popular decoration in homes, churches, and businesses during the holiday season. Let’s explore some of the ways that advent candles are used in modern culture.
The Number 9
Traditionally, advent candles come in a set of four, with each candle representing one of the four weeks leading up to Christmas. However, some modern churches and families have started using a set of five candles. The fifth candle is usually placed in the center and is called the Christ candle.
- The first candle is usually purple and represents hope.
- The second candle is also purple and represents peace.
- The third candle is pink or rose-colored and represents joy.
- The fourth candle is purple and represents love.
- The fifth candle, if used, is white and represents the birth of Jesus.
Some modern churches and families have taken it a step further and added a sixth, seventh, and eighth candle to represent additional themes such as forgiveness, gratitude, and unity. This brings the total number of candles to nine. The Christ candle is still placed in the center, and the additional candles are placed around it.
|White||The Birth of Jesus|
The addition of extra candles allows for a more personalized and meaningful advent experience. Each candle symbolizes a different aspect of the Christmas story and can be used as a tool for reflection and meditation during the Advent season.
Advent Candle Alternatives and Variations
While the traditional advent candles have been widely used for centuries, there are now alternative ways to celebrate the Advent season. Here are some popular advent candle alternatives and variations:
- Advent Wreath: Instead of lighting candles, some people prefer to use an Advent wreath. The wreath usually has four candles, each representing one of the Sundays leading up to Christmas. The wreath itself symbolizes the never-ending love of God.
- Advent Calendar: An Advent calendar is a fun way to count down the days until Christmas. Each day, children (and adults!) can open a little door to reveal a treat or a small gift.
- Electronic Candles: For those who want the ambiance of candles without the risk of fire, electronic advent candles can be a great option. These candles are often flameless and can be set to flicker like real flames.
There are also variations on the traditional Advent candle lighting ceremony:
For example, in some cultures, the first candle represents hope, the second symbolizes faith, the third is for joy, and the fourth candle is for peace. Others may focus on themes such as love, giving, or service for each of the Sundays leading up to Christmas.
|Number of Candles||Meaning||Colour|
|Three||Hope, Peace, Joy||Purple (for hope and penitence), pink (for joy)|
|Five||Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, Christ||Purple (for hope and penitence), pink (for joy), white (for Christ)|
|Six||Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, Christ, Mary||Purple (for hope and penitence), pink (for joy), white (for Christ), blue (for Mary)|
No matter which way you choose to celebrate Advent, the season serves as a reminder of the hope, peace, joy, love, and grace that surrounds us during the Christmas season.
What Do Advent Candles Symbolize FAQs
Q: What are advent candles?
A: Advent candles are a set of candles often used in Christian churches during the Advent season, which is a time of preparation for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth on Christmas Day.
Q: What do the advent candles represent?
A: The advent candles represent different aspects of the season of Advent. The four candles stand for hope, love, joy, and peace, while the fifth candle symbolizes Christ and is lit on Christmas Day.
Q: Why are there four advent candles?
A: The four advent candles represent the four weeks leading up to Christmas, with one candle being lit on each Sunday of Advent.
Q: What is the significance of the colors of the advent candles?
A: The colors of the advent candles vary, but in many traditions, three candles are purple, one is pink, and the fifth is white. The purple candles symbolize penance and preparation, the pink candle represents joy, and the white candle symbolizes purity and hope.
Q: How are the advent candles used during worship services?
A: During worship services, the candles are often arranged in a wreath and lit one at a time each week, with scripture readings and prayers focused on the theme of each candle.
Q: Can I use advent candles at home?
A: Absolutely! Many families and individuals use advent candles at home as a way to mark the season and focus on the spiritual aspects of Christmas.
Q: Do I need to be a Christian to use advent candles?
A: Advent candles are often associated with Christianity, but anyone can use them as a way to reflect on the themes of hope, love, joy, peace, and Christ during the holiday season.
Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Joining Us!
We hope you found this FAQ about advent candles helpful and informative. Whether you’re a Christian or not, we invite you to explore the tradition of advent candles and how they can enhance your holiday season. Thanks for reading, and be sure to visit us again soon!