Symbols of Advent and What they Mean

Advent wreath against wall

Liturgical seasons bring with them all kinds of religious symbols. Advent has layers of symbolism that all lead to the main event of Christmas — the birth of Jesus. It goes beyond a Christmas tree; Advent has wreaths, calendars and many different colors of candles. Learn what all these symbols mean.

Advent Wreath

Advent wreaths represent continuous life. The circular shape symbolizes the eternity of God, immortality of the soul, and everlasting life in Christ. Each evergreen woven into the wreath has a different meaning. The laurel represents victory over persecution and suffering. Pine, holly and yew convey immortality. Cedar shows strength and healing. Pine cones symbolize life and resurrection.

Advent candles over a wreath

Advent Candles

Four candles represent four weeks of Advent. Here is what each candle represents:

  • The first candle, known as the Prophecy Candle, symbolizes hope.
  • The second candle, the Bethlehem Candle, symbolizes Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
  • The third candle, the Shepherd’s Candle or Candle of Joy, symbolizes joy and is pink in color. Pink represents joy or rejoicing, showing a shift from repentance toward celebration.
  • The fourth candle, the Angel’s Candle, symbolizes peace, reminding us of the message “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”

Candle Colors

The candles lit for advent all mean something different based on their color. Each one represents a different week of the season. Three of the candles are purple, the liturgical color that signifies prayer, penance and sacrifice. Purple, the color of royalty, is traditionally the primary color of Advent. This color shows the anticipation and reception of the “King of Kings.”

Christ Candle

As a more modern tradition, some place a white candle in the middle of their wreath and light it on Christmas Eve. White is for purity, as Christ is a sinless, pure savior. It’s also a symbol of victory, celebrating the birth of Jesus who would go on to become a symbol of hope for Christians.

Advent Calendar close up

Advent Calendar

The Advent calendar is pretty straightforward. Each window of the calendar helps families count down the days until Christmas. Counting down the days using an Advent calendar gives families an idea of what it was like to anticipate Jesus’s birth. These calendars often contain small gifts or candies for children. While these calendars now come in many varieties, from strictly traditional to fun and hobby-based, they all represent the same thing— the period of waiting for Christmas to come. 

Our Orlando Catholic school located in the Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Support a Local Orlando Business on National Ice Cream Day

ice cream cone with pink background

Ice cream is essential for getting through Florida summers, especially for kids (and kids at heart)! On National Ice Cream Day — Sunday, July 18th — ice cream shops go all out with special flavors and deals. One great way to celebrate this holiday is by supporting local businesses here in Orlando. Here are a few great options that aren’t far from our Orlando private school: 

The Greenery Creamery 

The Greenery Creamery, an Asian-owned ice cream shop, calls itself “Orlando’s first artisanal ice cream boutique.” With a variety of locally sourced dairy and plant-based ice cream options, you’re sure to find flavors you and your child enjoy. If you have adventurous taste, this is the place to go. While flavors like sweet cream and cookies and cream can be found, there are also options like guava, blueberry lavender and black ash coconut. You can find this shop at their original Downtown Orlando location or at their newer location in Downtown Sanford. 



woman in pink apron handing ice cream cone

Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream 

Another great handcrafted option in Orlando is Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, with locations in Audubon Park, Fern Creek and Oviedo. All of their ice cream is handmade in Orlando. This ice cream shop offers classic flavors like chocolate and strawberry, as well as fun flavors like maple bourbon bacon and rose almond pistachio. In addition to their staple flavors, they have a rotating special menu that includes non-dairy options. 

ice cream in bins

Sperry Deli & Creamery 

Named after Orlando Mayor Frank Ezra Sperry, who served in the early 1900s, Sperry Deli & Creamery recently opened in Thornton Park near Lake Eola. This deli serves Boars Head products and a variety of ice cream flavors. Most of the flavors fall under the typical ice cream shop repertoire. Along with ice cream shop favorites like vanilla, chocolate, cookies and cream and cookie dough, they offer sorbets and low-fat flavors. This is a great place to go if you’re looking for a plain and simple ice cream experience.

purple popsicles on pink background

The Pop Parlour 

While The Pop Parlor is not an ice cream shop per se, their popsicles are perfect for cooling down on a summer day. Along with homemade popsicles, they offer specialty coffee drinks and tea, so there’s something for everyone. Like The Greenery Creamery and Sperry Deli & Creamery, The Pop Parlor started in Downtown Orlando, right next to Lake Eola. It has since expanded to UCF and will soon be opening a Texas location. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, we emphasize the importance of service to the community, which includes supporting small businesses. Teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Give Up Waste for Lent

online shopping

Over the next 40 days of Lent, Christians around the world will take time to focus on their relationships with God. One step that many take is giving something up for Lent. In the past, we have recommended sacrificing soda, negativity and screen time. This year, we recommend giving up waste. The environmental impact of discarded products, such as single-use plastics, cannot be overstated, and now is the perfect time to consider what you can go without. Here are our recommendations:

Reduce Your Consumption

During this time of preparation for Easter, stop shopping. Rather than buying whatever makes you happy in the moment, narrow down your list to items that you need. Depending on your current habits, this could mean making food at home or avoiding the allure of online shopping. This also means not buying your beloved child the toy he picks out at every store. Be mindful with your spending, and you’ll be amazed by how much you can save. Once Easter comes around, consider donating some of the money you would have otherwise spent. 

bamboo utensil set in cloth

Switch to Reusable Products

Plastic has been a convenient material for years, and it’s especially popular because it doesn’t break down. Unfortunately, this is also a major downside to plastic, especially single-use plastics that end up in landfills and oceans. Consider purchasing items that can be used multiple times, like metal or bamboo straws, bamboo or thermoplastic utensils, and metal or BPA-free reusable water bottles. Buying these items for the whole family and making sure everyone uses them will remove more waste than you may realize.

full clothes closet

Recycle What You Don’t Need

Unless you have already taken serious time to declutter, chances are, you have items you don’t need. Each day, go into a different area of the house, and look for items you can donate or, if no longer usable, throw away. We recommend donating as a way to give back to others, but there will be items that you’ve held onto that have seen better days. Think about how long it has been since you used each item, not how quickly you may use it again. Encourage your child to do the same, and help him choose items that another child might love.

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, we believe every person can make a difference and that Lent is the perfect time to create better habits. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.