the 30th November (St. Andrew's Day) and lasts until Christmas Eve. This is the time when Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Advent has been celebrated since the year 500 AD. For many centuries, it was a time of penitence or remorse. However, over time Advent has become more joyful. It is now a celebration of Christ's first coming, and preparations are made for his Second Coming.
Many churches include an advent wreath in their Advent services. The wreath consists of three purple candles and one rose candle that are arranged in a circle of evergreen which symbolizes eternal life, with a white candle in the centre of the circle.
On the First Sunday, one purple candle is lit.
On the Second Sunday two purple candles are lit.
On the third Sunday, two purple candles and the rose candle are lit. The rose candle is also called the "Joy" candle because the Advent fast was broken on the third Sunday in anticipation of the great event to come.
On the fourth Sunday, all the purple candles and the rose candle are lit. The white candle, also known as the Christ Candle, symbolizes Christ's birth and is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.