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Friday, December 18, 2009

German Christmas Traditions: Advent Wreath

Another form of counting down to Christmas in Germany, and in most of Europe, is an Advent Wreath.

At this moment in time I am not an owner of such a wreath.
Instead I have this, which works well for us newlyweds.

It has four wicks so it serves the purpose of this tradition.

This is the one my grandparents had in their home last year.
There's not much to be said as far as the background goes. No one seems to know exactly how this tradition was created. However, there are many signs that lead back to Germany.

Here's how it works:
Four candles are placed in a wreath. They represent the four weeks in Advent.
On the first day of each week of Advent, Sunday, a candle is lit. This continues each week until all the candles are lit. Some wreaths will even include a fifth candle to be lit on Christmas Eve.
As the tradition goes, the family gathers around to light the candles, usually at the end of the day. In my family, as well as many others, we would light them at the dinner table. This practice of lighting the candles is somewhat similar to the lighting of the Menorah during Hanukkah.

This coming Sunday will mark the final week in Advent and all of the wicks will be lit.

Do you use and Advent Wreath?
What does it look like?

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