Christmas ... A fabulous and wonderful time ... Candles are lit in every house, families gather at the festive table. It is hard to believe that this family holiday has been celebrated by Christians all over the world for 1,500 years! The celebration of Christmas was officially established in the fourth century by decree of the emperor Constantine, who stopped the centuries-old persecution of Christians. Despite certain differences in the Catholic and Orthodox interpretations of this holiday, the symbolism has much in common: a decorated tree, candles, cute little angels, and much more.
Among the Christmas tinsel, the sparkle of Christmas decorations, sparkling garlands and other attributes of the celebration, a special place is occupied by a Christmas wreath. The tradition of decorating them with front doors or a festive table came to us from Western countries not so long ago. But it has already become very popular: it's not just a decoration - it’s an ancient and very deep symbol of one of the most revered holidays in Christianity, in which the fundamental principles of religion are reflected.
Christmas wreath, Advent wreath (Advent Wreath or Advent Crown) consisted of fir branches, ribbons and four candles. They decorated the table or vertically fixed in the house. On the first of four Sundays before Catholic Christmas, the first candle was lit, on the second, respectively, two candles, and so on. It’s hard to say exactly when Advent wreath was introduced exactly in Christmas traditions, different sources have different data. Some say that there is no exact date, it is only known that even the long-standing German peoples, preparing for Christmas, made such wreaths and distributed them to neighboring villages. The more popular version of its origin is different. A Hamburg Lutheran theologian Johann Hinrich Wijern, who took several children from the families of the poor to be brought up, made a wreath of old wheels and spruce branches from his garden in 1839 and decorated it with candles and a satin ribbon. Every Sunday, the children added one large candle, ribbons and fir cones to the wreath. So it was easier for children to count the days until Christmas.
The Christmas wreath in the Catholic world is associated with the globe and the cardinal points. The circle symbolizes peace and eternal life, the green branches of the spruce tree are the color of life on Earth, and the candles are the light that will illuminate the whole world on Christmas day. Typically, Catholic Christmas wreaths are decorated with three purple and one pink candle, which symbolize the colors of Advent services. A pink candle is lit on the third Sunday before Christmas, called Guadete, that is - Rejoice!