The History of the Advent Wreath — Or At Least One Version…

We are only less than halfway into the first week of the season of Advent and I already feel like Charlie Brown’s Teacher every time I open my mouth to speak about it. Perhaps this is one of the occupational hazards of writing an Advent-related resource! Today, I was blessed to be a guest on three different radio shows. On the third show, the hosts and I decided on a non-Advent related topic and yet we still ended up coming around to…you guessed it… Advent.

I’m beginning to wonder if God is trying to tell me something in that not-so-subliminal way He has sometimes. Perhaps it’s “Stop talking so much about Advent and get busy participating in it!” (said in his big, boomy God voice of course)

Today, shortly after the third interview, I ran across this video from the always-wonderful Rome Reports on the history of the Advent Wreath.

I was honestly very happy to find it after the interview since it conflicts a bit with this blog post on the same topic. Both sources seem to point to pre-Christian use of a wreath of greens to mark the passage of time, but give conflicting information about the Christian adaptation of the tradition.

In the end, I don’t think it much matters who began this wonderful tradition. But I will say that I’m glad I live in the part of the world where purple and rose candles are used instead of red. The tie in to the predominant colors of the liturgical season is simply too cool!

I’m going to be on the lookout for additional “histories of the Advent wreath” to share with you, but in the mean time I’d love to hear YOUR history with it. Do you use one? How devoted are you to the practice? Do your kids (or husband) argue over who gets to light the match? Is there a time of day that works best your family?

As an incentive for you to comment I’m going to give away a beautiful Magnificat pop-up Advent Calendar with its accompanying 48 page booklet. Leave a comment below — any comment, but preferably one about Advent wreaths — by noon Pacific time tomorrow, Wednesday December 5th, 2012 and one winner will be randomly selected.

Update: Our winner is Heather R. Keep an eye out for upcoming contests!

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About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com and connect with her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.


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