Vatican, 04 December, 2023 / 11:30 am (ACI Africa).
During the holidays, Nativity scenes and Christmas trees decorate most Catholic homes, but what about Advent wreaths?
Advent wreaths are traditionally made from evergreen branches and have four candles. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent — three candles are purple, and one is a rose color.
The purple represents prayer, penance, and preparation for the coming of Christ. Historically, Advent was known as a “little Lent,” which is why the penitential color of purple is used. During Lent, we prepare for the resurrection of Christ on Easter. Similarly, during Advent, we prepare for the coming of Christ, both on Christmas and at the second coming.
The rose candle is illuminated on the third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday. At Mass on the third Sunday, the priest also wears rose-colored vestments. Gaudete Sunday is a day for rejoicing and joy as the faithful draw near to the birth of Jesus, and it marks the midpoint of Advent.
“The progressive lighting of the candles represents the expectation and hope surrounding Our Lord’s coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead,” the USCCB says.