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Catholic Activity: Advent Wreath II

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The Advent wreath is one of the oldest religious customs that can be used by the family during Advent. Here are some suggestions on how to construct your own wreath, English style.

DIRECTIONS

This could once be found hanging up in homes all over Christian Europe. Its symbolism is obvious enough — a wreath bearing four candles, which are gradually lighted as advent advances and the birthday of the Light of the world draws closer. The wreaths are not difficult to make. Twist some wire into a strong circle about a foot or 18 ins. across. If you have no wire, roll newspapers into spirals, bind them with string and make the circle from that. Then twist strips of evergreen round the circle, the more the better, and secure it with purple ribbon (have also white ribbons ready, for later the purple ribbons give place to white). Yew is the best evergreen to use because of its feathery leaves, but box, privet, ivy cypress, holly, will do. Laurel is often used because of its association with victory, and Christ's coming is a victory over sin. Tie at equal distances round the wreath the four purple ribbons and tie the ends together. It is from this that the wreath should be suspended from the ceiling.

On the first Sunday in Advent the wreath is hung and four candles are fixed among the green. Someone explains to the others the meaning of it.

Advent lasts four weeks. Each week brings us closer to Christ, who is the light of the world. The little flame of the candle is the symbol of his coming. We could also think of the people who do not realize that Christ is coming and who do not believe it, even if they know."
The youngest person present lights the candle and an Advent hymn is sung.

On the second Sunday of Advent this is repeated, only two candles are lighted, on the third Sunday three, on the fourth four; and on Christmas-day the purple ribbons change to white. The waiting is over, Christ has come upon earth.

Activity Source: Candle is Lighted, A by P. Stewart Craig, The Grail, Field End House, Eastcote, Middlesex, 1945

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