Well life has been hectic recently but we took time off yesterday to make an advent wreath. Just in case you don't know what I am refering to, here's a little bit of history!
The origins of the circular Advent wreath originated with the ancient Celtic people of Germany and Scandanavia, Worship was tied to the rhythm of the Earth and its seasons and the Sun was considered very important. As the days shortened they prayed for it to return .
The center of their rituals was a living wreath or a cartwheel, woven with evergreens which lived through the winter darkness. The wheel symbolized the unending circle of life and the rotation of the seasons. The candles brought light and hope to the darkness. The circular wreath like many pagan customs was absorbed into Christian observances as Christianity spread across Europe.
The word "Advent" is derived from the Latin word "adventus" ; meaning "coming".
The symbol of the light in the darkness and the rebirth of the Sun made equal sense to symbolise the Son of God bringing light into the world. Apparently the first official use of the wreath in churches was in the early 1880's.
In Christian observance the first candle is of Hope, the second Love, the third Joy, and fourth of Peace. If a fifth candle is used it symbolises the birth of Christ.
Various colour candles are used in different customs.
Pagans also brought in greens, winter berries, seeds, pine cones to represent life carrying on through the darkness to the approaching solstice. It reflects life's timeless connection with the Earth and the Universe, an eternal circle turning through the darkness to the light.
Mistletoe is another plant which was venerated by the Ancient Celts. When it was found growing on an Oak tree it was considered sacred. The Greeks also thought it had mystical powers.
Anyway, DD and I had a lovely time creating our wreath for this year.
DH brought in some olive branches, they are picking olives at the moment so there were a lot of branches that had been pruned available!
He exagerated a bit...these are taller than I am!
He also brought in some oak leaves and acorns.
My DD wove the olive branches into a circular shape and sewed the various parts together. Pine cones, berries and acorns made it look pretty. She added bells and ribbons and some little Christmas Elves. We used a round stainless steel tray as the base for safety.
Last, but most important the candles. I used 5 of them. Traditionally one is lit on every advent Sunday.
No doubt we will be adding things are they come to mind during this month! I hope to add some Holly and Mistletoe.
This is the wreath my older DD made:
Her handmade door decorations: she embroidered the bow.
What are your yuletide traditions? Do you have an Advent wreath?