Why Are Advent Candles Purple & Pink?

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An advent wreath is a symbolic and beautiful way to prepare for the Christmas season. The three purple candles and one pink candle are meant to remind us of the reason for the season.

History

  • While the advent wreath is a long-standing Catholic tradition, its historic origins are unclear. Both pre-Christian Germanic peoples and ancient Scandinavian cultures used candles on wreaths or wheels to look forward to the coming spring.

Significance

  • The three purple candles in an advent wreath represent penance. The pink candle represents joyfulness.

Features

  • The purple and pink candles are placed on an evergreen wreath which symbolizes the eternity of God and everlasting life.

Function

  • The purple candles are lit on the first, second and fourth Sundays of Advent. The pink candle is lit on the third Sunday, also called Gaudete, which is a time to be joyful and celebrate the approach of Christmas.

Fun Fact

  • Some advent wreaths have a fifth candle that is white and meant to be lit on Christmas. Alternately, the four colored candles can be replaced with white candles on Christmas.

References

  • Photo Credit "Stained Glass Candles" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: david.nathan.cox (David Cox) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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