What Do the Colors of Advent Symbolize? Understanding the Meaning Behind the Colors

The holiday season always brings about a sense of wonder, joy, and excitement that can only be rivaled by the splendor of springtime. This year, I was inspired to get to the heart of one of the most intriguing aspects of Christmas: the Advent wreath. With its vibrant colors and captivating symbols, it’s easy to get lost in the mystery and meaning behind this beloved holiday tradition. So, I set out on a quest to unlock the secrets behind this festive decoration and discover what each color truly symbolizes.

As I delved deeper into the history and symbolism of the Advent wreath, I found that each candle represents a different emotion, tradition, and hope for the future. The first candle, typically lit on the first Sunday of Advent, is purple, and represents hope. This is the perfect time to reflect on all the good things in life, and set your sights on new goals to achieve in the coming year. The second candle is also purple, and it represents peace. It’s a reminder to take time to appreciate the important things in life, and let go of the stress and chaos that can easily come with the holiday season.

The third candle is pink, and it represents joy. This is the time to fully embrace the holiday spirit and revel in the joy and magic of Christmas. Finally, the fourth and final candle is purple, and represents love. It’s a time to cherish the love you have for your family and friends, and to focus on spreading kindness, compassion, and joy to those around you. As you light each candle on the Advent wreath, you’re reminded of the true meaning of the holiday season, and the importance of hope, peace, joy, and love.

The Meaning Behind the Colors of Advent

Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. The Advent season lasts for four weeks leading up to Christmas, with one candle lit each week on an Advent wreath. The candles in the wreath are usually purple or blue, with a pink or rose candle lit on the third Sunday. These colors are not chosen arbitrarily, but rather hold deep symbolic meaning for the season of Advent.

  • Purple: The color purple is traditionally used during the season of Advent as a symbol of repentance and preparation. It represents the color of royalty, reminding Christians of the coming of the King of Kings. The use of purple during Advent helps to set the tone of the season, encouraging believers to reflect on their own spiritual journey and prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ.
  • Blue: In some churches, the color blue is used instead of purple during Advent. Blue is associated with the Advent themes of hope and expectation. It represents the night sky, which brings to mind the long wait for the anticipated arrival of the Messiah. Like the purple candle, the use of blue during Advent helps to create an atmosphere of the expectant waiting for the arrival of Christ.
  • Pink: On the third Sunday of Advent, a pink or rose candle is often used to signify joy and celebration. This is known as Gaudete Sunday, meaning “Rejoice!” in Latin. It serves as a reminder that while there is still waiting to be done, the fulfillment of God’s promises is near. The pink candle serves as a symbol of the joy and celebration that we will feel upon the arrival of the Christ child.

The use of these colors during the season of Advent is a powerful tool that helps to deepen our understanding of the spiritual significance of the waiting and preparation that this season represents. By using liturgical colors to symbolize different aspects of the Advent season, Christians are able to more fully engage with the themes of repentance, hope, and joy that are central to this time of year.

The history of Advent and its symbols

Advent is a season in the Christian calendar that is observed as a time of preparation for Christmas. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming” or “arrival.” It is during this time that Christians anticipate and prepare for the birth of Jesus Christ.

  • Advent wreath: One of the most recognizable Advent symbols is the Advent wreath. It is usually made of evergreens and adorned with four candles. Traditionally, the Advent wreath has three purple candles and one pink candle. The candles are lit one by one each Sunday leading up to Christmas Day. The purple candles symbolize hope and preparation, while the pink candle signifies joy.
  • Purple and pink: These two colors are often associated with Advent. Purple is used to represent a time of preparation and penance, while pink represents joy and rejoicing. The use of these colors throughout the season helps to convey the dual nature of Advent as a time of both preparation and celebration.
  • Advent calendar: The Advent calendar is a popular tradition, especially for children. It is a way of counting down the days until Christmas Day. Advent calendars come in different forms, from paper calendars with chocolate or small gifts hidden behind each flap, to digital calendars that can be downloaded onto electronic devices.

Advent is a time of reflection, preparation, and celebration. It is a season that encourages Christians to slow down and reflect on the meaning and significance of Christmas. The symbols associated with Advent help to make the season more meaningful and allow individuals and families to create their own traditions and connections to the holiday season.

Advent candle colors and their meanings

The Advent wreath consists of four candles; three purple candles and one pink candle. The candles are lit on the four Sundays preceding Christmas, with one additional candle lit each Sunday as the weeks of Advent progress. Each candle has a specific meaning and represents a different aspect of the Advent season.

Candle Color Meaning
Purple Represents hope, peace, or royalty.
Purple Represents love, and in some traditions, Christ’s royalty.
Pink Represents joy and happiness.
White Represents purity and light. The white candle is lit on Christmas Day.

The Advent wreath and its candles serve as a visual reminder of the anticipation and preparation that come with the Christmas season. Each candle represents different aspects of the Advent season, encouraging Christians to reflect on the meaning and significance of the holiday season leading up to the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

The Significance of the Color Purple in Advent

The color purple plays a crucial role during the Advent season. In fact, it is traditionally associated with the penitential aspect of the season, which calls for inner reflection and spiritual introspection in preparation for the coming of the Lord. Here are three observations of the significance of the color purple in Advent:

  • Symbolism of penance and humility. Purple is a deep, rich color that is often used to represent penance, humility, and solemnity. During Advent, the Church invites us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus Christ, and the color purple serves as a reminder of our need for penitence and humility before our God.
  • Imitation of royalty. Purple is also associated with royalty and majesty. This is especially true in the ancient world, where purple was a symbol of wealth, power, and status. As Christians, we recognize Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and so we too imitate his royalty by wearing and adorning our churches with this color.
  • Anticipation and hope. Lastly, purple is a color of anticipation and hope. During Advent, the Church prepares for the coming of Jesus Christ in both his first and second comings. Purple serves as a reminder of the hope and expectation we have for the fulfillment of God’s promises through Jesus Christ.

Overall, the color purple plays an important role in the Advent season. It reminds us to be humble and penitent, to imitate Christ’s kingship, and to have hope and anticipation for his coming. Let us embrace the spiritual significance of this color and allow it to deepen our faith and devotion during this holy season.

The symbolism of the color pink in Advent

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks preceding Christmas. During this period, many people display Advent wreaths with four or five candles that they light each week in anticipation of Christmas. Each candle is symbolic of something specific that Christians remember and reflects upon during the Advent season. The first, second, and fourth candles are purple, the third is pink or rose, and the fifth is white. In this section, we will explore the symbolism of the color pink in Advent.

  • Celebration of Joy: The pink candle of Advent symbolizes the rejoicing and celebration of Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent. Its color represents joy, hope, happiness, and optimism. The Latin word Gaudete means “rejoice,” which is why this Sunday is also known as the Sunday of joy. The candle is lit to remind us that the birth of Jesus is near, and we should prepare our hearts and minds for His arrival with joy and gratitude.
  • The Role of Mary in Advent: Pink is also connected to the Virgin Mary, who is a central character in the Advent season. Mary was the mother of Jesus and is known as the “Queen of Heaven.” Pink represents Mary’s joy at the coming birth of her baby, whose arrival would save mankind from sin. Her emotions, as a human mother, fill us with profound gratitude and joy.
  • The Power of Prayer: Another way to interpret the pink candle is as a representation of prayers and intercessions. It is a reminder to Christians that, even though the Advent season can be busy, it’s an important time to pause and pray. In prayer, we can connect with our faith, our loved ones, and ourselves. The pink candle reminds us of the power of prayer and its ability to fill us with joy and peace.

In conclusion, the pink candle in Advent holds deep symbolism for Christians. It represents the celebration of Joy, the role of Mary in the Advent Season, and the Power of Prayer. Pink is a color that invites us to feel hopeful, joyful, and optimistic. It allows us to reflect on our faith and connect with the divine. During Advent, let’s keep these symbols in mind and embrace the joyous message of the season.

The Use of the Color White in Advent

As we prepare for the spiritual renewal and anticipation of Christmas during the Advent season, the use of colors in the liturgy and decoration of the church is meant to enhance the experience and reflect on the significance of the event. Each color has symbolic meaning, and the use of white in Advent has a particular significance.

  • Purity: The primary significance of the color white is purity and holiness. White represents the spotlessness of God and the immaculateness of Christ. In the liturgy, white is used during the Christmas season, including Advent, because it is the liturgical color of feasts and celebrations.
  • Light: Advent is also characterized by the lighting of the Advent candles as an anticipation of the coming of Christ, the light of the world. Similarly, the color white represents light and brightness, signifying the hope brought to the world by the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the Light of the World.
  • Triumph: White also symbolizes triumph, victory, and joy. The birth of Christ is not only a significant event in the Christian faith, but it also celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and life over death. White, as a color of triumph, signifies the hope for universal peace and goodwill in a broken world.

In the Advent season, the use of white in liturgical vestments, church decorations, and the Advent wreath candles adds an element of hope, joy, and expectation to the ceremony. White enriches the sights and sounds of Advent, invoking a sense of reverence and awe among the faithful who gather to celebrate the season.

Significance of White in Advent Symbolism
Purity Spotlessness and Immaculateness of God and Christ
Light Anticipation of the coming of Christ, the Light of the World
Triumph Heralds the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, life over death

The use of white in Advent significantly reflects the hopeful and joyful nature of the season. It speaks to the purity, light, and triumph of Christ’s birth and emphasizes the hope of his second coming. Ultimately, the color white reminds us of our eternal destiny and our call to live as children of the light.

The meaning behind the use of gold in Advent

Gold is a popular color in Advent decorations and has a significant symbolic meaning for the season. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Wealth and Royalty – Gold is a precious metal that has been associated with wealth and royalty from ancient times. Just as the wise men brought gifts of gold for the baby Jesus, the color gold in Advent represents the riches of the king born in Bethlehem.
  • Purity and Perfection – Gold is also a symbol of purity and perfection. The refining process of gold represents the refining process of our souls as we prepare for the coming of Christ. Gold reminds us of the purity and perfection of the Lord.
  • Light and Glory – The color gold is also closely associated with light and glory. The gold color shines brightly, especially when added to candlelight and other light sources. The light and glory of the season remind us of the hope and joy that Christ brings to the world.

In addition to Advent decorations, such as candles and ornaments, the use of gold can also be found in liturgical vestments and altar decorations. Gold is often combined with white and purple to create a harmonious color scheme for the season.

Overall, the use of gold in Advent is a powerful symbol of wealth, purity, and glory. It reminds us of the true reason for the season and the hope that comes with the birth of our Savior.

Symbolism Meaning
Wealth and Royalty Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Purity and Perfection The purity and perfection of Christ’s birth and the refining process of our souls.
Light and Glory The light and glory that Christ brings to the world.

The use of gold in Advent is a powerful symbol that can help us focus on the true meaning of Christmas and the hope and joy that come with it.

The symbolism of the color blue in Advent traditions

Blue is a color highly associated with Advent and it holds significant symbolism. In Christian traditions, the color blue represents hope, expectation and anticipation. It reminds us of the expanse of the sky and ocean, signaling the vastness of possibilities and the depth of God’s love. Here are some interpretations of the meaning of blue in Advent:

  • Hope and Expectation: Blue is a color that inspires feelings of calmness and tranquility, and it is a fitting hue for a season of waiting and anticipation. Blue candles are often used in Advent wreaths, symbolizing the expectation of the coming Messiah. It reminds us to be patient in our waiting and look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise.
  • Remembrance: Blue is also associated with the Virgin Mary, who is thought to have worn blue robes. She is a central figure in the Advent story, as she carried Jesus in her womb and gave birth to him. Blue symbolizes the purity, faithfulness and loyalty of Mary, who was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. It inspires us to remember the love and sacrifice of Mary as she played a pivotal role in the Christmas story.
  • The Divine: Blue is also associated with divinity and spirituality. It is believed to be the color of the heavens and represents the presence of God. In Advent, blue serves as a reminder of the importance of cultivating a relationship with God, to seek His presence amidst the busyness and distractions of the season.

The use of blue in Advent traditions brings a sense of peace, serenity, and reverence. It helps individuals to meditate on the true meaning of the season and the importance of remaining hopeful, faithful and patient amidst the uncertainties of life.

One notable trend is the growing popularity of blue Christmas trees, which serve as a beautiful centerpiece and an expression of hope and joy in the midst of sadness or loss.

Advent candles Candle color Symbolism
First Candle Purple Hope
Second Candle Purple Love
Third Candle Pink Joy
Fourth Candle Purple Peace
Fifth Candle White or Blue Christ

It is interesting to point out that the last candle in the Advent wreath often takes on a blue or white hue, representing the coming of Christ and his role as the light of the world. It is a beautiful reminder of the culmination of Advent in the joyous celebration of Christmas.

The significance of the color red in Advent symbolism

While purple is the primary color of Advent, red also plays a significant role in its symbolism. The color red evokes emotions of passion, love, and sacrifice, all of which are integral to the season of Advent.

  • The color of the Advent wreath candle: The third candle on the Advent wreath is traditionally red, also known as the “Shepherd’s Candle.” This candle represents joy and the sense of expectancy that comes with the promise of Jesus’ birth.
  • The color of Christmas: Red is strongly associated with Christmas, primarily due to the color of Santa Claus’s suit. However, the color red also symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which he shed on the cross for the salvation of humanity.
  • The color of martyrdom: Red is also the color of martyrdom, which signifies the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life for a righteous cause. This is appropriate given that Advent is a season of sacrifice and self-reflection.

In addition to its symbolism, red is also a vibrant and energetic color that adds warmth and joy to the season. When used sparingly and in conjunction with other colors, such as purple and green, red can be a powerful tool for expressing the essence of Advent.


In conclusion, the color red is an important component of Advent symbolism. It represents the passion and sacrifice of Jesus, the joy of his birth, and the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom. By incorporating red into Advent décor and other seasonal elements, we can add depth and texture to the celebration of this holy season.

Symbolism Importance
Shepherd’s Candle Represents joy and expectancy
Christmas Symbolizes the blood of Jesus
Martyrdom Represents ultimate sacrifice

Let us celebrate Advent in full knowledge of the depth and beauty of its symbols, and use the color red thoughtfully but joyfully to express its essence.

The use of green in Advent decorations and its meaning

Green is a color commonly associated with nature and new growth. During Advent, it is used in decorations to symbolize hope and life.

  • Green wreaths – Advent wreaths are typically made of evergreen branches, representing the eternal life offered through Jesus Christ.
  • Green candles – In some traditions, the third Advent candle is green, representing the joy that comes with the approaching birth of Christ.
  • Green holly and ivy – These plants are often added to Advent wreaths and other decorations, symbolizing the new life and growth of the coming season.

Green also has connections to the Old Testament and Jewish tradition. In the book of Isaiah, green is referenced as a symbol of beauty and righteousness.

Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation for the birth of Jesus Christ, and the use of green in decorations serves as a reminder of the new life and hope that he brings.

Symbolism Color
Hope and life Green
Peace and purity White
Love Red
Repentance and preparation Purple

The color green adds to the joyful atmosphere of Advent. It reminds us of the beauty and new life that accompanies the birth of Jesus Christ and inspires us to prepare for this important event.

The Symbolism of Black in Advent Practices

Black is a rare color in Advent because it is often associated with mourning and despair. However, it is still used in some traditions to symbolize the importance of waiting and preparation before the coming of Christ.

  • Black candles are often used in Advent wreaths to mark the period of waiting and preparation leading up to Christmas. The first three candles are usually purple, pink, and purple, while the fourth candle is white to symbolize Christ’s birth. However, in some traditions, the third candle is replaced with a black one to represent the darkness of the world before the coming of Christ.
  • Black vestments may also be worn by clergy during Advent to symbolize the solemnity of the season. This is especially true on the third week of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, which is marked by a pink candle and vestments to signify the joy of the approaching Christmas holiday.
  • In some cultures, black is also used as a symbol of penitence and self-reflection during Advent. This is particularly true in Hispanic communities, where the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which falls on December 12, is traditionally celebrated with masses and processions featuring black vestments and candles.

Overall, the use of black in Advent practices serves as a reminder that although the season is full of joy and anticipation for Christ’s birth, it is also a time for reflection and preparation. It represents the darkness that existed before Christ’s coming, as well as the somberness and introspection that are necessary for true spiritual growth.

Symbolism Meaning
Darkness The world before Christ’s coming
Solemnity The seriousness of the season
Penitence Self-reflection and spiritual growth

In conclusion, while black is not a common color in Advent practices, it holds important symbolic meaning for those who choose to use it. Whether through ceremonial use or personal reflection, the use of black during Advent reminds us that spiritual growth and preparation require solemnity and introspection.

FAQs: What do the Colors of Advent Symbolize?

1. What are the colors of Advent?

The colors of Advent are purple, pink, and white.

2. What does the color purple symbolize in Advent?

Purple symbolizes repentance and fasting. It reminds us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.

3. What does the color pink symbolize in Advent?

Pink symbolizes joy and rejoicing. It is used on the third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday.

4. What does the color white symbolize in Advent?

White symbolizes purity and light. It is used on Christmas Day and throughout the Christmas season.

5. Why are these specific colors chosen?

These colors have been used in the Church for centuries and were chosen for their rich symbolism and meaning.

6. Are there any other colors used during Advent?

Some churches may use blue instead of purple during Advent. Blue symbolizes hope and expectation.

7. Do all churches use the same colors during Advent?

No, some variations exist within different church denominations or individual traditions within the same denomination.

A Colorful Reminder of the Season’s Meaning

We hope this article has helped you to understand the symbolism behind the colors of Advent. As we prepare for the birth of Christ, may the colors of Advent remind us of the joy, hope, repentance, and purity that this season brings. Thanks for reading and remember to visit again for more insights into Christian traditions and symbols.