The Advent Wreath

Wreaths are used by Christians fairly early in the medieval period and specifically Advent wreaths first appear in the 16th century and become common in Catholic homes over the next two hundred years.  They represent the two-fold understanding of Advent mentioned above.  The circle of the wreath represents eternal life as does the use of evergreens.  There are four candles: three purple and one pink or rose.  The three purple candles reflect the penitential and preparatory nature of the season (also mentioned above).  On the first two Sundays of Advent we light two of the purple candles.  On the third Sunday of Advent we light the rose candle.  This third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday and the lighter color represents a lightening of the mood, a focus on the joy to come.  The final purple candle is lit on the final week of the Season.

The light of the four candles also represents the light of Christ, the light in the darkness, light of the world.  Some Advent wreaths especially represent the light of Christ by adding a fifth white candle that is lit on Christmas Eve.

Learn how to make an advent wreath at home…

Praying with an Advent Wreath

Traditionally, families gather to light the Advent wreath before dinner and after the food has been blessed.  There are many prayer texts available, often using the O Antiphons as part of the prayer and all reflecting the two-fold nature of the Advent Season.

Resources for praying with the Advent Wreath: See Prayers for Lighting the Advent Wreath at  Here you will find Advent activities, art, information on another Advent custom – the Jesse Tree and other inspiration.

Prayer for Blessing an Advent Wreath from