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🙁😶😷 If you’re of the Christian faith, lighting the Advent candles is a great way to reflect on the birth of Christ and its meaning to you. This tradition, which was historically Catholic, but was adopted by Christians in the Middle Ages, spans the 4 weeks before Christmas to get you and your family thinking about the true meaning of the holiday.XResearch source You can set up an Advent wreath with candles in your very own home as a beautiful reminder of what the holiday is really about.
Part 1Part 1 of 2:Set up
- 1Put a Christmas wreath on your table or windowsill. You can buy a wreath made specifically for Advent candles, or you can get a normal wreath and put candle holders inside of it. Set the wreath down on a flat surface in a prominent area of your home, like your kitchen table or in your living room.XResearch source
- The evergreen branches of a traditional wreath represent the continuous life of Christ since they never die.
- The circular form of the wreath symbolizes the eternity of God and the everlasting soul, since a circle has no ending.
- Your wreath can be as big or as small as you want it to be—just make sure it can fit 4 candles around it!
- 2Add 3 purple candles to the wreath. The purple candles are the main candles of Advent, and they each represent something different. Set 3 purple candles in 3 of the candle holders around your wreath, and make sure they’re far away from anything flammable.XResearch source
- If your wreath didn’t come with candle holders inside of it, you can buy candle holders and set them directly inside of the wreath.
- Look for tall, thin candles that you can burn multiple times throughout the month.
- 3Set 1 pink candle on the wreath. This candle represents joy, which is why it’s a bright, fun color. Put this candle in the last spot on the wreath.XResearch source
- Go for a pale pink candle in the same style as your purple candles.
- 4Put a white candle in the middle of the wreath to represent Christ. Not every faith uses a white candle in the center, so you can choose whether you’d like to or not. Put a large white candle in the very center of the wreath to light on Christmas Eve.XResearch source
- A white candle is very traditional, but more modern Advent wreaths usually don’t include it. If you’re having trouble deciding, ask your church leader about it.
- Since the candle represents Christ, you can use one with Jesus’s likeness on it instead of a plain white one.
- 5Explain to your family members what each candle represents. If you have young children in the house, this is a great way to teach them about when Jesus was born and what Christmas really means. You can talk about why Christmas is celebrated and what it means to you as you set up your Advent wreath.XResearch source
- The Christmas holiday has a tendency to focus on getting gifts and material goods, so you can use your Advent wreath as a nice reminder of what it’s truly about.
Part 2Part 2 of 2:Traditional Lighting
- 1Light the first candle on the first Sunday of Advent. On the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, light one of the purple candles. This candle represents the hope that people felt before the birth of Jesus, and you can read Isaiah 64:1–9 to accompany your lighting.XResearch source
- You can also sing hymns like 'O Come Divine Messiah,' or 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.'
- You can leave the candle burning until you’ve read a piece of scripture or sung a hymn with your family. Don’t forget to blow it out before leaving the house or going to bed!
- The date of the first Sunday of Advent changes every year, but it’s usually close to the end of November.
- 2Think of faith as you light the second candle on the next Sunday. On the following Sunday, light both the first purple candle and a second purple candle. This one represents faith and how people believed in God before Jesus’s birth, and you can read Isaiah 40:1–11 after you light it.XResearch source
- If you’re lighting the Advent candles with your family, give each member a turn lighting the candle.
- Some traditionalists say that you should always light your candles in a clockwise circle, but you can decide whether you’d like to do that or not.
- 3Light the pink candle on the third Sunday to represent joy. Light the first 2 purple candles, then light your pink candle as well. Think about joy and what it means to you and your faith as you watch the candle burn.XResearch source
- This candle is also called "The Shepherds Candle."
- You can read John 1:6–8, 8–11 as you light this candle.
- The pink candle celebrates the joy that people felt when Jesus was born.
- 4Remember the creator as you light the last purple candle on the last Sunday. On the last Sunday of Advent, light all 4 candles at the same time, including the unlit purple one. The fourth and final candle represents waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ, so you can talk about your anticipation and excitement for Christmas.XResearch source
- Read Luke 1:26–38 as you light this candle.
- 5Light the white candle on Christmas Eve. The final Advent candle represents the coming of Christ. You can light this one on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with your family as you celebrate Jesus’s birth.XResearch source
- The candle is white to represent the purity and the lack of sin that Jesus had when he was born.
- QuestionWhat should you do if the candles melt?wikiHow Staff EditorThis answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Staff AnswerwikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerIf your candles burn down before the last Sunday of advent, just replace them with new ones. If you're using tall enough candles, though, it shouldn't be a problem.
- QuestionCan we continue to light our candles after Christmas? And if so, for how long?wikiHow Staff EditorThis answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Staff AnswerwikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerThere's no rule or tradition stating how long you can leave the candles burning. Some people choose to leave them lit until they burn out naturally, while others snuff them out at the end of Christmas Day. It's up to you and your family!
- QuestionWhy do I light Advent candles?Community AnswerThe lit candles are symbols that remind us that Jesus is the "Light of the world".
- QuestionHow long do I leave the advent candle lit?Community AnswerJust consider what is safe as to not have a fire hazard. Let the candles burn for as long as you are right there in front of the advent wreath. Never leave the candles burning while out of sight. The time you spend while singing, praying or meditating on the coming of the birth of Christ will be enough.
- QuestionDoes there have to be a white candle in the middle?Community AnswerHaving a white candle in the center is optional.
- QuestionShould I leave candles lit 24/7?Community AnswerNo. If you're using LED candles, you can keep them lit as long as you like.
- QuestionCan the third candle be pink instead of white?Community AnswerThe third candle should be pink. Pink symbolizes joy. he fifth candle, symbolizing Christ, is lit on Christmas Eve.
- QuestionDo the candles need to be new at each lighting, or can they be used more than once?Community AnswerThe candles may be used more than once; just make sure they don't get too low or the whole thing could catch fire.
- QuestionShouldn't the candles be lit clockwise?Community AnswerYes, they should be. Light them as you imagine them being a clock. The first one should be the bottom left (like 8 o'clock), the second one should be the top left (like 10 o'clock), the third one (pink - top right, as 2 o'clock), and the fourth one, bottom right (like 4 o'clock). The Christ candle, in the middle, is lit at a Christmas Eve service, and on Christmas, the following week, and on Epiphany Sunday.
- QuestionOn the second Sunday, do I light the first candle along with the second candle?Community AnswerYes. Each week, you light another candle. By the end, all candles are lit.
- Use Advent candles to talk to your children about the true meaning of Christmas.
- Keep your Christmas wreath far away from anything flammable, like curtains or table cloths.
Things You’ll Need
- Christmas wreath
- 3 purple candles
- 1 pink candle
- 1 white candle (optional)
About This Article
To light the Advent candles, first put 3 purple candles in candle holders around an Advent wreath. These candles represent the hope, faith, and anticipation that people felt before the birth of Jesus. Add a pink candle, which represents joy, and place a white candle in the center of the wreath to represent Christ. Light one of the purple candles on the first Sunday of Advent, the second one on the following Sunday, and the third one on the third Sunday. On the final Sunday of Advent, light the pink candle and all 4 purple candles. Finally, on Christmas Eve, light the white candle in the center. Read on for tips on which Bible verses to read as you light each candle.
Reader Success Stories
- "There are always question each year on the color and meaning of the candles in the wreath. It surprises me that I have to think on it as well. But finding a single source that goes with Christian faith as one is great. I will have to bookmark this article."..." more