Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is Sunday December 1st and ends on Christmas Eve (December 24th).
The Advent wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Three cadles are purple and one is pink.
The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory scarifices and good work undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, the Sunday of rejoicing, arriving at the midpoint of Advent. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord's first coming into the world.
The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one pink candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout the Christmas season.
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