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Advent Symbols and Celebrations – Part I

Advent is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope, a preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio,  meaning “to come to,”; it refers to the coming of Christ.  Here are three expressions of piety to help us get ready this season.

 Advent Wreath

Advent CandlesThe Advent Wreath is traditionally formed by a circle of evergreens and decorated with four candles. In the Catholic tradition, there are three purple candles and one rose candle, marking the four Sundays of the Advent Season prior to Christmas. Sometimes, a fifth white candle in placed in the middle of the wreath which is lit on Christmas day.

There is a progressive lighting of the candles, Sunday after Sunday, leading up to Christmas. On the first Sunday, a purple candle is lit; on the second Sunday, two purple candles are lit. On the third Sunday, the rose candle is lit for Gaudete Sunday ( from the Latin word meaning “to rejoice”) along with  the two purple candles, and on the fourth Sunday, the last purple candle and the other three candles are lit. Typically, scripture passages are read along with the lighting of the candles to offer reflection.


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