Symbolism and history of Adventist wreaths

The history of Adventist wreaths dates back to ancient times. During the cold, dark days of December, pre-Christian Germanic peoples used garlands of lit candles to express hope for the long-awaited warmer, longer days of spring.

The same thing happened in Scandinavia, when with candles lit in a circle, people prayed to the god of light to turn the earth back to the sun, prolong the day and return heat to the earth.

The appearance of today’s Advent wreaths took shape in the Middle Ages, when Christians began using them as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that has come into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate God’s truth and love.

However, the tradition of lighting individual candles on Adventist wreaths emerged many years later, particularly in the 19th century, particularly at the Rauhes Haus school in Hamburg, founded by Protestant minister Johan Hinrich Wichern, where children were constantly asking questions. teachers during Advent over Christmas.

So in 1839 JH Wichern built a large wooden circle and placed 19 small red candles and 4 large white candles on it. He lights a small candle gradually each weekday during Advent. On Sundays, he lights a large white candle.

Subsequently, the Protestant Church in Germany took over and formed a tradition. Since candles weren’t cheap at all, people gradually started switching to smaller bouquets, leaving only the 4 large white candles as we know them today.

Symbolism or Why do we use natural materials?

The symbolism of the Adventist wreath is beautiful. Wreaths are made of various conifers, which means permanent life. Even these conifers have traditional meanings that can be interpreted in our faith:

  • laurel means victory over persecution and suffering
  • pine, holly and yew mean immortality
  • cedar is given strength and healing
  • Holly also has a special Christian symbol: thorny leaves resembling a crown of thorns

The round shape of the wreath, without beginning or end, symbolizes the immortality of God, the immortality of the soul and the eternal life found in Christ.

Cones, nuts or seeds that adorn wreaths are symbols of life and resurrection. Together they reveal the immortality of our souls and the eternal new life found in Christ.

Four or five candles?

The four candles symbolize the four weeks of Advent. Advent wreaths with candles of various colors are currently used, but must be purple or dark blue, reminiscent of the colors of the Advent liturgy, except for the third in a row – it is dedicated to friendship and must be pink.

The candle must be lit anti-clockwise.

Wreaths with a fifth white candle in the center are also common. It lights up on Christmas Day and symbolizes Christ.

The important order of how the candles are lit

First candle burned on the first Advent or Iron Week. The candle is called Hope. According to the old custom, it should be burned by the youngest in the family.

Second candle burned on the so-called second bronze Sunday of Advent. The candle is called Peace. According to the old custom, he should be burned by the eldest son of the family.

Third candle burned on the third Sunday or silver. The candle is called Friendship and should be pink. On the third Sunday of Advent, the mother of the family lit candles as usual.

Fourth candle light up on golden sunday. The candle is called Love. According to tradition, candles are lit by the father of the family on the fourth Sunday of Advent.

Fifth candle light up on Christmas day after sunset. It is white and dedicated to Christ. It is lost on modern bouquets or placed in the middle.

At home, it is best to light an Adventist wreath at dinner, when the family is together.

Camilla Salazar

"Unapologetic social media guru. General reader. Incurable pop culture specialist."

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