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, or all purple can be used but white candles can also be used. Vigil candles in their glass containers work well.
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, signifying 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.
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