Making Advent wreaths

Waiting for Santa Claus – or the „Christkind“? Whatever! The pupils from the class for service occupations, taught by Mrs. Maringer, used their fantasy and manual skills by any means when they made Advent wreaths. The result is really worth seeing!

Here are some pictures:

But how did the custom of Advent wreaths actually arise?

The time before Christmas is called the “Adventszeit”. It starts with the wonderful custom of making Advent wreaths. Besides the new Christian year begins on the 1st Sunday in Advent and the first candle on the Advent wreath is ignited.

The original Advent wreath by Wichern

The Advent wreath was implemented by the Protestant pastor and child care worker Wichern (1808–1881) in evangelic North Germany. About one hundred years later the custom could also be found in catholic areas. It is said that Wichern from Hamburg took care of poor children. He moved into an old farm house with them where he looked after them. When they asked daily during Advent time if Christmas had finally arrived, he fixed 20 small red candles and 4 large white candles on a cart wheel. This was meant to be kind of a calendar, so that the children could count the remaining days till Christmas.  Every day one more candle was ignited, on Advent Sunday one more white candle.

The Advent wreath with four candles

Out of the traditional Advent wreath invented by Wichern the Advent wreath with only four candles developed. Since about 1860 the Advent wreath is made out of fir green. 1925 the first Advent wreath was hung up in a Catholic church.
Usually the Advent wreath is decorated with natural materials (fir cones, orange slices, apples, straw stars and much more) and four candles which get ignited one after the other on the Advent Sundays. There are no limits to fantasy! The original colours were green, red, pink and purple. The pink one symbolised the Christmas light which is already shining through. The pastor wears a pink tunicle as well on that particular day. This wonderful custom causes people to be a little bit more reflective and gets them in the right mood for the most popular feast, Christmas, which is a family feast for most people. The Advent wreath invites people to come together and to be calm and pensive. Almost nobody can elude the fascination of the candle light!