The Advent wreath is an old German tradition that has gained much popularity in the last few years. Most Christian homes and communities practice this custom during the Advent season. This sacramental is rich in meaning, is easy to implement and can either be simple, costing little, or very elaborate, costing more, handmade or store bought, with fresh greenery, or permanent greens.
The Advent wreath is a wreath, or circle, of evergreens, made in various sizes. It is either suspended from the ceiling by ribbons (preferably purple) or placed on a table. The devotion is usually incorporated during the family meal, or during family night prayers. Fastened to the wreath are four candles standing upright, at equal distances. These candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Three of the candles are purple, reminding us of the penitential nature of the season. A rose or pink candle is lit for the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete (rejoice) Sunday. The name is taken from the entrance antiphon or Introit "Rejoice (gaudete) in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice." It is reminding us that the end of Advent is almost here, and we can hardly contain our joy.
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish hosts an Advent Wreath-Making Party every year on the Saturday evening before the First Sunday in Advent. Each family brings a side dish or dessert to complete the pot-luck meal. All the greenery, wreaths, candles, etc are supplied by the parish. This event is a great way to prepare for the Christmas season.