Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt...
Yes, it's almost time to light the first candle on the advent wreath. In celebration of the four weeks of Christmas, I'm offering you a 10% discount on the purchase of any four candles from apidae candles. Just use the code ADVENT2014 at www.apidaecandles.de for my customers in Europe or at Etsy for those of you in the USA.
But where does this tradition come from? After a bit of research, it doesn't seem quite clear. Some evidence indicates that the wreath was already around in the Middle Ages. Other evidence shows that the tradition began here in Germany as a Christian custom in the 16th century. However, my personal favorite is the story of Johann Hinrich Wichern, a protestant pastor in Germany. Pastor Wichern ran a mission school in Hamburg called the Rauhes Haus. The children constantly asked a question we have all heard countless times coming out of little mouths: "How many days until Christmas"? In 1839, Pastor Wichern built a wooden ring and encircled it with 20 small red and four large white candles. Each day during Advent, the children lit a small candle. On each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, a large white candle was lit. This custom evolved into the tradition we know today of a smaller wreath with four large candles. Although, I do like the idea of one candle for every day. This custom didn't reach the USA until the 1930's.
Does your family celebrate this tradition?