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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Upcoming Feast Days: Chanukah & Advent Shattering Darkness Part Two: Advent

What I posted yesterday bears repeating especially since this is "part two" of that entry so to reiterate: "It is good to reflect on the symbols of light and hope that mark the Jewish Feast of Chanukah and the Christian Feast of Advent, a time when Jews and Christians use the symbols of candles and lights to shatter the winter darkness."

(This quote from an excerpt of Archbishop Prendergast's speech at a testimonial dinner honoring Rabbi Erwin and Mrs. Laura Schild.) As previously noted, both of these feast days begin on different days every year, and this year Chanukah begins at sundown on Wednesday, December 1st 2010, while Advent begins today, Sunday, November 28th 2010. Chanukah's celebration lasts eight days ending on December 9th 2010, and Advent lasts until December 24th 2010.

Since I am involved with making invitations and greeting cards which are often used to commemorate these holidays, I read many blogs about them and recently discovered Prendergast's speech on a blog posting by Deborah Gyapong. In yesterday's post, I wrote a little bit about the origin of Chanukah.

Regarding Advent, it is a season of preparation and the beginning of the Western liturgical year. One of the practices of Advent is the use of wreaths and candles. 

Traditionally there are four candles, each representing a given Sunday during the four weeks of Advent. Most often purple and rose colored candles are used as seen in the image posted at the top of this entry. However, in some instances, the color blue is used. In any event, when the purple and rose colors are used, the practice is this: a purple candle is lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent. The rose colored candle is lit on the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday.

The purpose of this post and yesterday's post is to acknowledge that during the season of Chanakah and Advent, the followers of either feast are invited to go beyond the outward symbols of their ritual. Gyapong writes it is a time to be "an example and to give others a reason to hope and believe."

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