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The word “Claddaugh originates from the small Irish fishing village named, Claddaugh Near the city of Galway. The Claddaugh wreath ceremony is celebrated by Irish people with a special symbol highlighting the qualities of love and friendship. These distinctive feature two hands clasping a heart, surmounted by a crown. The hands stand for friendship, the heart for love and the crown for loyalty.

The message is that we should be true friends of our God, by following holy path, showing brotherhood for the fellowmen and be pure at heart and love our King of Kings, Jesus Christ, who wore crown of thorns for betterment of mankind. The Claddaugh advent wreath celebrates the coming of the “The light of the world” in form lighting the wreath made from evergreens and flowers, each symbolizing victory of good over evil.

The candle light is symbol of cleansing of our soul by driving away sins of darkness.

There are many types of Claddaugh wreath made of different shapes and flora. The 16 inch herb patch square wreath is made up of natural herbs and spices containing orange safflower, purple oregano, yarrow, English lavender, chili on the bed of evergreen leaves and twigs. The other type of 16 inch lavender field’s square wreath is made from natural salad leaves with natural fragrance and English lavender, bundles weaved in between the leaves and a lavender ribbon softly accents the wreath.

There is circular type 16 inch Moneth garden wreath and a 16 inch “pumpkin and squash wreath which is made up of preserved oak leaves in true fall color with natural wheat, Nigella pods, orange safflower, beaded pumpkins and squash.

The evergreen leaves symbolize the continuity of the life and eternity of God, with no end and beginning. It also depicts immortality of our souls and the need to remain on the right path and keep faith in our creator, even during the time despair and pain. Because after dark and cold winter there is always coming of a spring, like the coming of Christ in our lives to drive away sufferings and bring peace to us.

The flower indicates the happiness, in awaiting arrival of our messiah and herbs indicate the healing we will get from the gracious and merciful love of Jesus Christ. The candles are integral part of wreath ceremony and are lit in progression over four weeks to mark the advent of Christmas. Traditionally the ceremony starts by lighting the candle and after blessing the food, a prayer service is offered to the Lord. This ceremony is repeated in similar way on the second, third and fourth week. By carrying out this ritual we stir up our faith in God and become vigilant against evil habits, in this holy month of Christmas. After purification of soul we are able to truly receive our Lord in our hearts and feel his Divine grace and mercy.

This article was published on Saturday 16 May, 2009.

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