The History of the Advent Wreath
by Jaci Rae
The origin of the Advent Wreath stem from Lutheran Germanic Folk ancestry. In Eastern Europe, during the cold and dark December month, families would light fires and gather wreaths of evergreen to signify the hope of an early Spring and renewed life, light and warmth. By early 16th Century, German Catholics and Protestants adopted the symbolic tradition, but used it instead as a celebration in the hope of Christ. Eventually the tradition spread throughout the world.
Originally the Advent Wreath consisted of four candles, three purple and one rose colored. However the use of four white candles was also an accepted practice. Today, five candles (for traditional families, the fifth is optional) are used. I was unable to find out why the transition was made.
The season of Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas. It is a season of preparation. A solemn time to make ready for the coming of Christ and Christmas.
To mark the coming of Christmas, many Churches use an Advent Wreath containing five candles. On the first Sunday of Advent, the first candle is lit: on the second Sunday of Advent, two candles are lighted and so on.
How to Make an Advent Wreath
There are many ways you can make an Advent Wreath. One is to purchase all of the items and put them together. The other is to start from scratch, gathering the items in the woods and making the candles by hand.
Store Bought Items
While you can purchase Advent Wreaths at most stores during the holiday season, why not make them at home and have fun with the family explaining the tradition of it? If time is a concern, and it usually is, it's absolutely fine to purchase either the entire wreath already made up (they are usually smaller and you don't have a choice of style) or you can go to your local craft store and purchase the items separately.
If you are going the separates route, purchase a wreath that you like the style of. It can be straight or in the round. Then purchase four or five taller, thick candles (they need to last the month). Place the Advent Wreath on a table (with something under it to avoid candle dripping damage) and place the candles inside something sturdy to avoid tipping.
Gather evergreens in the woods (make sure you have permission unless it's on your own land). Layer the evergreen in either a circle or length wise. Making the candles aren't as easy, but certainly fun!
The following recipe is thanks to about.com Guide David Fisher
For the entire recipe go to: http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/moldedandpillarcandles/ss/icecandle.htm
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