Not all Advent-wreath candles are purple and pink

There’s been some online chatter in recent days on the colors of the candles in Advent wreaths. (We also saw one semi-sarcastic comment to an earlier post in this blog dismissing home wreaths as a “Lutheran wreath and candles adornment” that ought to be replaced by a trip to church for vespers.)

Pope Benedict XVI’s Advent wreath from last year is shown in this 2007 file photo.  The wreath follows the German tradition of using red candles. (CNS/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

Pope Benedict XVI’s Advent wreath from last year is shown in this 2007 file photo. The wreath follows the German tradition of using red candles. (CNS/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

The chatter reminded us of an item we posted on this blog last year revealing that Pope Benedict’s Advent wreath candles were not purple and pink — or even white with purple and pink adornments — but all red. And our intrepid Rome bureau informs us this morning that this year’s wreath is the same.

Why all red? As our Cindy Wooden explained last year, Germans gave us Advent wreaths in the first place and generally used just red candles. “The practice of using three purple and one pink candle was an adaptation made to reflect the colors of the liturgical vestments used on the four Sundays preceding Christmas,” she wrote.

(CNS/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

(CNS/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

Here’s another view (right) of last year’s wreath, taken during the pope’s meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the Vatican Dec. 7, 2007.

One Response

  1. And to think that I spent all that time, through four stores, to find “proper” Advent candles. I think I need to be a bit less nit-picky about such things, especially this time of year.

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