CONTRIBUTED BY SARAH FORTE
12 Days of German Christmas: Day 4
Are we there yet?
In my family this question was answered with a map and encouragement to figure it out. The advent wreath with candles is also a visual aid, letting all those who see it know how close we are to Christmas Day.
Advent means “coming” was first celebrated in Rome during the weeks leading up to Christmas. There are a few possible origins of the Advent candles and wreath, but all the stories agree on one thing: It started in Germany. And they can still be found all over Germany today. Look for them in the Christmas markets, in the Cathedrals and other churches, at the florist stands and in the Germany homes.
Traditionally there are four candles attached to a wreath (Adventskranz). On the first Sunday of Advent, the first candle is lit. On each Sunday leading to Christmas, another candle is lit until they are all lit on the Sunday before Christmas. Some wreaths also have a fifth candle in the middle that is lit on Christmas Day.
Some of the elements change depending on design. Sometimes the candles are red, other times, pink and purple (the traditional colors of Advent). Sometimes the wreath isn’t a wreath at all. It might be a log with holes for the candles.
Come back tomorrow to hear more about another German Christmas traditional candle decoration: Schwibbogen.
Note: Click on top picture for credit.