Adventsljusstake med fyra ljus
An Advent candlestick , sometimes abbreviated: Advent candle , is a candlestick with four candles used in Advent time. On the first of Advent one of the candles at the end of the stake lights up. Second Advent illuminates both the first light and that which is next to the former and so on until the fourth Advent when all the candles are lit. By allowing the candles to burn about as long as each advent, a "staircase" of candles has been formed at the fourth advent.
The custom came to Sweden at the end of the 19th century. At Ersta diakonia was introduced in the 1870s, modeled on Kaiserwerths diaconal institution in Germany an Advent tree. The Christmas tree had 28 candles, of which seven candles, one for each day of the week, lit every Advent Sunday. The custom was widely spread in the country, and from this tradition a custom was developed, partly with a candlestick with seven candles, one for each day of the week, and one with four candles, one for each Sunday in Advent. This became common in Sweden during the 1920s and 1930s. In Sweden many Advent candlesticks are made of lacquered steel sheet and can be decorated with a moss and possibly small ornaments, such as tomtes , cones, berries and red and white mushrooms (flugsvamp) . The lights in Sweden are usually white, but reds are also present.
In the Northern Hemisphere where December is the darkest month of the year, Advent candlesticks symbolizes "a light in the dark" and existed before Christianity. Many Advent, Lucia and Christmas songs describe how the candles are lit in Advent times.