Advent meaning 'the coming', is a month full of expectation, anticipation
and preparation for the winter solstice/Yule/Christmas
Today is the first Sunday of Advent and traditionally you light
the first candle in your Advent wreath today - a circular evergreen
wreath with four candles in it and one in the centre.
Each candle in the wreath represents one of the four Sundays of
Advent, (3 purple or red, and a rose candle on the 3rd Sunday) with
a fifth candle (white) to be lit on Christmas day.
The first candle is traditionally the candle of Expectation or
Hope. The second candle is for Love, the third candle stands for
Joy, and the final candle is lit on the final Sunday of Advent for
Greetings and blessings.
In the 5th Century Advent began on St Martin's Day -11th November
and entailed a six week fast leading up to the Christmas celebrations.
During the 6th Century, Advent was reduced to four weeks with no fasting.
Our ancestors used wreathes with lit candles during the dark December
days as a sign of hope, as they looked forward to the winter solstice
and the lengthening of the days, and the return of the life-giving
In Scandinavia lighted candles were placed around a wheel instead
of a wreath, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn
the wheel of life towards the sun