Traditional German Advent Wreath – Count the Sundays before Christmas
The Advent Calendar isn’t the only way to mark the time before Christmas, in our home we always had a Traditional German Advent Wreath. My mother would bring it out for the first Sunday of Advent, and the Holiday Season would officially begin in our home. I couldn’t understand why other (non-German) houses I visited didn’t have them… but then, other houses would have the Christmas tree set up right after Thanksgiving, so there was a lot I didn’t understand….
The Traditional German Advent Wreath
The traditional German Advent Wreath is usually a circle of evergreen set horizontally, with 4 candles spread around it. The wreath’s circular shape represents the everlasting love of God… and evergreen also represents a love that never dies. Often there will be one more candle, representing Jesus Christ, in the center. On each of the four Sundays before Christmas, a candles are lit. The candle lighting happens both in Church and in the home. On the first Sunday of Advent, you light just one candle, on the second Sunday you light two…and so on. On Christmas Eve all four candles are lit, along with one more in the center.
History Advent Wreath
According to history, the first Advent Wreath was constructed by a Protestant Pastor, Johann Hinrich Wichern, who constructed it after the children from the mission kept asking “how long until Christmas”. In fact, his wreath had small candles between the big ones, so they could see each day go by.
In our home, my sister and I would take turns lighting the candles for Sunday Breakfast, and then again at Afternoon Coffee. The table would be set with a festive tablecloth, the good china, and the Advent Wreath.
On Christmas Eve… all the lights in the house would be turned off, my parents would light the tree and the candles on the Advent Wreath. That special feeling…. stillness and light… there is nothing quite like it in the world.
Advent Wreaths come in all Styles
Traditional pine wreaths are a beautiful centerpiece for your table. You can find artificial pine wreaths that can be used over and over, as well as natural wreaths that are used once…. and then you save the decorations to build a new wreath next year. Or, you can have a “wreath” that is made from wood or even metal.
Advent Wreath Meaning- Candles
Each candle holds symbolism.
Week 1- The Prophecy Candle, which represents the Prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold of Christ’s coming.
Week 2- The Bethlehem or Manger Candle, which represents Love.
Week3- The Shepherd’s Candle, which represents Joy.
Week 4- The Angel’s Candle, which represents Peace.
(and no fighting over who gets to light the candles! St. Nikolaus is watching!)
There are many different styles of Advent Wreath available. With fresh greenery, hand carved from wood, or even a plastic one that can be used over and over. You can make your own, or even let the kids make one. It’s all a matter of personal taste.
Advent Wreath Candles… WHAT COLOR SHOULD THEY BE???
One of the crazier issues I’ve come across online… people arguing about what COLOR the Advent Wreath Candles should be. So, let me clear some of that up.
The ORIGINAL Advent Wreath constructed by Pastor Wichern had 4 larger white candles… and between each white candle, there were 6 smaller red candles.
But today Advent Wreaths generally have 4 (or maybe 5… the 5th in the center) candles. The color is dependent on the church or country.
I grew up with Red Candles on our Advent Wreath. My mother grew up Catholic, and my father was Lutheran, so I don’t know who they followed… all I know is many German families use red.
In European Protestant Churches, many Advent Wreaths have Red Candles.
In Germany, red is a traditional Advent Wreath color.
To add to the religion confusion, Pope Benedict XVI had Red Candles on his Advent Wreath at the Vatican.
Around the world, in many Catholic or Protestant Churches , the candles match the Liturgical Vestments for the season. This is why you often see Purple or Violet Candles (Purple is the color of the season. It represents repentance and the sovereignty of Christ)
Some Anglican and American Methodist churches use Blue Candles (because the Lent season uses Purple, so they wanted to make it different. Blue represents Creation)
Some wreaths will have a Pink 3rd Candle (It rpresents JOY for Gaudete Sunday in the Catholic Church. It’s a break from the penitential time.)
A White candle represents purity. (Often this one is found in the center, and represents Christ)
One of the best responses to the WHAT COLOR SHOULD ADVENT CANDLES BE? Question is …. Whatever color you like. It’s the feeling behind lighting a candle in anticipation of Christmas. Not the color of the candle.
November 28th is the First Sunday in Advent for 2021
Traditional Advent Wreaths
In Germany, Advent Candles are generally RED… often in the US you will find them in Purple. It depends on the church. You can even find white…Candles available below.
Advent Wreath for Dining Table, Christmas Centerpiece with Advent Candles, Xmas Evergreen Farmhouse ArrangementFresh Fraser Fir Advent Wreath, Pre-order!Eucalyptus wreath with Wood Candleholder, Advent wreathNobilis spruce branches Advent wreath with wood candleholders and 4 white candlesTraditionally Advent wreath with purple candles, Advent Wreath
Different Styles of Advent Wreaths
More modern takes on Advent Wreaths… some aren’t even wreath shaped! But all are quite beautiful and keep the meaning alive.
Wooden Advent wreath Candle holder set of 4 pcsChristmas Advent Wreath, Set of Four Birch Candles with Words Peace, Hope,Love and JoyChunky yarn Advent WreathAdvent numbers made of concretereusable LED Advent wreath with candles, SOFORT available, battery operatedAdvent Wreath Candle Holder,minimalist Advent wreath in oak and copper plus table candle white and mini fir candle holder woodAdvent Wreath Candle Holder / Wooden Candle Holder
Wooden Advent Wreaths
These fantastic Advent wreaths were carved in the Erzgebirge in Germany. They can be used over and over, and become family heirlooms.
World of Light Candle holder advent four sitting angels with wood chip tree – 22x19cm / 8.7×7.5inch – Albin PreisslerAdvent candlestick snow man candlestick candlestick manual work Erzgebirge NEW 201/111
Advent Wreath Candle Holders….
Simple so you can fill in your own Greenery and Candles
Advent Wreath Candle Holders
Another way to make an Advent Wreath is to add special candle holders to a wreath. A few ribbons or other bits of greenery, and done!
I did this last year with a live wreath I picked up from Trader Joes. I inserted the candle holders, added a nice ribbon, and it was perfect for the patio table.
Don’t forget the Advent Candles
While Red is more traditional in Germany, in the US we see more purples to match the liturgical garments.
Elite Christmas Products Advent Candle Set. Made in the USA Self Fitting End. Premium Hand Dipped Candles, Dripless, 4 pack – 3 purple, 1 pinkDarice All Purpose Unscented Taper Candles, 7-Inch, Red, 7-Pack
Make Your OWN Advent Wreath
These Kindle books that you can download today are loaded with great ideas for making your own special Advent Wreath.
Das Weihnachtsnähbuch: Geschenke & Deko für Advent und Weihnachten (German Edition)Adventskränze selbst gemacht: Kreative Bastel- und Dekorationsideen für Adventszeit und Weihnachten (Weihnachtlich dekorieren und basteln) (German Edition)