What Is Advent Season?
Advent Season is a very special time of year that sometimes gets lost in the bright lights of the Christmas season it precedes. The first day of Advent is the first day of a new Liturgical (or church) calendar and begins four weeks of preparation in anticipation of the nativity of Jesus at Christmas.
This time of the Liturgical year is about reflecting on how we can prepare our hearts and homes for Christ’s birth in the world as it is today. And secondly, the Sunday readings remind us to prepare for the second coming of Christ. It is a time for faith communities and families to remember, through prayer, reflections, special music, and good deeds, what the true meaning of Jesus’ birth is.
When Is Advent Season Celebrated?
Advent Season starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and leads up to the Nativity of Christ. That means Advent lasts for around a month in total.
This year, the Advent Season begins on Sunday, November 27th, and will end on Saturday, December 24th. Since the Advent season is observed by Christians worldwide, there are many different and creative ways to celebrate! We will host an Advent Festival on Nov 27 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. to make Advent Wreaths. Everyone is invited, but advanced registration is required to participate in the live wreath-making.
The most significant tradition of the Advent season is the Advent Wreath. The wreath and candles are full of symbolism tied to the Christmas season. The wreath, which is made of various evergreens, signifies continuous life. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life we find in Christ.
Even the individual evergreens that make up the wreath have meanings that can be adapted to our faith. The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering. The pine, holly, and yew signify immortality, and the cedar signifies strength and healing. The pine cones that decorate the wreath symbolize life and resurrection. The wreath as a whole is meant to remind us of both the immortality of our souls and God’s promise of everlasting life to us through Christ.
The candles also have a special significance. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent, and one candle is lit each Sunday. Three of the candles are purple because violet is a liturgical color that signifies a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice.
The first purple candle symbolizes hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
The second candle, also purple, represents faith. It is called the “Bethlehem Candle” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
The third candle is pink and symbolizes joy. It is called the “Shepherd’s Candle” and is pink because rose is a liturgical color for joy. The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday and is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that the faithful have reached the midpoint of Advent.
On the fourth week of Advent, we light the final purple candle to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait for the birth of our Savior. This final candle, the “Angel’s Candle,” symbolizes peace. It reminds us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”
Sometimes a white candle is placed in the middle of the wreath; this is a beautiful modern adaptation. The white candle is lit on Christmas Eve. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ. The color white is for purity—because Christ is our sinless, pure Savior.