photo of advent candles lit

The Meaning of Advent Candles in the Catholic Church

During the advent season, it’s customary in the Catholic Church to have an advent wreath present in our homes, and parishes. This Advent Wreath usually has 4 candles and have their own special significance and are gradually lit throughout the four weeks of advent. In order to prepare for this season, we want to discuss a few questions that people generally ask about the Advent wreath and specifically the advent candles.

What Are Advent Candles?

Advent candles are the four candles that you see in the Advent wreath. There are 3 purple candles and 1 pink candle on the wreath, and each candle has its own significance and meaning.

Purple Advent Candles

The color purple has been significant in the Catholic Church for years, and it remains to be the color of the priest’s vestments during the advent and lenten season. This color may also symbolize the waiting and longing for the coming of Christ.

Pink Advent Candle

In the advent wreath, the color pink represents joy. This particular candle is lit with significant timing that signals that something great is coming soon.

When are the Advent Candles Lit?

The advent candles are not lit all at the same time. There are four Sundays in Advent before Christmas, and every Sunday you light one candle from the wreath.

Advent Candles Order of Lighting

Week 1: Purple

Week 2: Purple

Week 3: Pink

Week 4: Purple

Meaning of Advent Candles Catholic

Lighting these Advent candles each week symbolizes the proximity of Jesus’ coming, hence each candle has its own special symbol and meaning.

Week 1: Purple Advent Candle, Hope

The first candle lit on the first week of Advent is a purple candle, this candle represents hope. In the first week of Advent, we recall the Prophet Isaiah, who anticipated the birth of Jesus. This first candle also represents the anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah.

Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.


Week 2: Purple Advent Candle, Faith

The second candle to be lit is also a purple candle. This candle symbolizes faith and the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. It calls you out to prepare the way of the Lord.

Week 3: Pink Advent Candle, Joy

The next and third candle to be lit is the pink candle, which represents Joy. This candle reminds us that Jesus coming is near as we reach the middle point of Advent. The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday, which symbolizes the nearness of Christ’s coming.

Week 4: Purple Advent Candle, Peace

On the fourth and final Sunday of Advent, the last candle is lit, which is purple. This candle represents peace and reminds us of the importance of Peace as the true savior of the world is coming.

Celebrating Advent At Home

Advent does not stop with the lighting of candles on the wreath every Sunday at Mass. As Catholics, we should give an extra mile by incorporating the joy of Advent in our daily lives. You can do things like attending an online Advent Retreat, or praying the Family Advent Wreath, and many more. If you’d like some more ideas on how you can celebrate Advent, you can check out our Great Ideas For Advent post.

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