Advent begins the new Christian year and consists of the four Sundays before Christmas. It is a seasonal tradition in its own right, preceding Christmas when the birth of Christ among us is celebrated.
The advent wreath is used to symbolically commemorate newness, eternal life, and the death and resurrection of the promised Messiah. It is coupled with the lighting of an additional candle each week, signifying the transition from darkness to light, culminating with the Christmas candle on the 25th of December. Appropriate services, prayers and hymns are used in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This past Sunday, 3rd December, is the first Sunday of Advent.
Advent Sunday, also known as the First Sunday of Advent or First Advent Sunday, holds significance in Western Christian Churches as it marks the commencement of the liturgical year and initiates the Advent season. It's a day when Christians begin their Advent wreath rituals, light the first candle, and engage in daily Advent devotionals. Many believers take this opportunity to set up their Christmas trees and adorn their surroundings with festive decorations, sometimes incorporating ceremonial practices like the hanging of the greens.
The first advent candle, typically coloured purple, symbolises hope and is occasionally referred to as the "Prophecy Candle." This naming pays homage to the prophets, notably Isaiah, who prophesied the birth of Christ. The purple candle embodies the eager expectation associated with the imminent arrival of the Messiah.
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Header image: Kalisa Veer