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Advent Wreaths in the Celtic Tradition

A Celtic Advent Wreath may be one that uses tradition advent candles or some use dark and light green tapers in place of the purple and pink. The Celtic Advent and the Easter Orthodox Advent or Nativity fast last for 40 days and starts mid November but most Advent wreaths have a maximum of 5 candles.

In the original tradition, advent was a period of 40 days and not just four weeks. The four week period was introduced in the middle ages. The Celtic tradition has been one that has with stood time and still is celebrated to the present day. The Celtic advent does mimic the Lenten period before Holy Week and the Resurrection. What is most interesting by extending the period of time; it does put more structure in the Christmas season and allows the proper focus on the Lord and not on the commercial pitfalls of Christmas. More interesting still is that this period starts before the traditional start of the shopping season of Thanksgiving.

There are also Celtic Advent wreaths for the more modern four-week period of Advent. The Irish themed wreaths are perfect for the traditional Irish catholic family. The wreath itself is comprised of the four traditional candle holders to hold the 4 Advent Candles. In most cases the wreaths, although apply being made of evergreen, in the true Celtic tradition they are made of medals, often pewter.

They are braided in some cases to show a old Irish braid. The twisted rope design makes the base of the advent wreath. Often the Celtic knot is used to decorate the place where the candle sits. A Celtic knot has roots in the third and fourth century.  The Celtic knot first showed up in art as an interlaced knot pattern making one mater pattern. Some are spirals or patterns form complex interwoven cords. In the Advent wreath reproduction of these knots forms the base.  There were many of these designs found in early Christian Manuscripts. The knot work and the designs though do seem to have roots in Northern Italy. The design was transported to the Celt lands in the early church and has long been associated with the Irish. There are also biblical references to these knots and rope designs that appeared in some of the reprints of the books of the Gospel from 7th century England and these are some of the earliest representations of the Celtic knot.

Often our Celtic Home décor items and sacramental and seasonal items are very popular among the Irish. The Celtic art Form had become a national identify type identity for the Irish, Welch and Scottish. This provides each of our families to reinforce their family heritage as well as their religious heritage.   Whether our families observe the traditional full 40 days and or the more modern four week period, the Celtic advent wreath provides a lasting tradition for families, regardless of their nationality and binds in their faith.

This article was published on Friday 18 July, 2008.



Up a level: Liturgical Calendar
Related Topics:
  • Lenten Season
  • Easter Season


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