Symbols of Advent: The Wreath

Advent begins tomorrow, December 3.

Traditionally, Advent wreaths are constructed of a circle of evergreen branches into which four candles are inserted, representing the four weeks of Advent. Ideally, three candles are purple and one is rose, but white candles can also be used.

The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.

The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead.

On the first Sunday of Advent, the wreath is blessed by a parent or another member of the family; see below. As you light the candles each day, follow along with the prayers and readings at

Week 1 ~ Hope
Purple Candle: Prophet’s Candle                            
Reminds Us: Jesus is coming
Verse: Romans 15:1-13
Prayer: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and gran that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces.
Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.