Sunday, 13 December 2009

Advent Wreath

Christmas 2009

Each day from now until Christmas day one article will be devoted to a subject connected with Christmas. Today we take a look at Advent Wreaths.
The Advent wreath is a Christian tradition that symbolizes the passage of the four weeks of Advent in the liturgical calendar of the Western church. It is usually a horizontal evergreen wreath with four candles. Beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, the lighting of a candle can be accompanied by a Bible reading and prayers. An additional candle is lit during each subsequent week until, by the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are lit. Some Advent wreaths include a fifth, "Christ" candle which can be lit at Christmas. The custom is observed both in family settings and at public church services.

The ring or wheel of the Advent wreath of evergreens decorated with candles was a symbol in northern Europe long before the arrival of Christianity. The circle symbolized the eternal cycle of the seasons while the evergreens and lighted candles signified the persistence of life in the midst of winter. Some sources suggest the wreath--now reinterpreted as a Christian symbol--was in common use in the Middle Ages, others that it was established in Germany as a Christian custom only in the 16th century, and others that the Advent wreath was not invented until the 19th century. This last theory credits Johann Hinrich Wichern(1808-1881), a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor, as the inventor of the modern Advent wreath. During Advent, children at a mission school founded by Wichern would ask daily if Christmas had arrived. In 1839, he built a large wooden ring (made out of an old cartwheel) with 19 small red and 4 large white candles. A small candle was lit successively every weekday during Advent. On Sundays, a large white candle was lit. The custom gained ground among Protestant churches in Germany and evolved into the smaller wreath with four or five candles known today. Roman Catholics in Germany began to adopt the custom in the 1920s, and in the 1930s it spread to North America. In Medieval times advent was a fast during which people's thoughts were directed to the expected second coming of Christ; but in modern times it has been seen as the lead up to Christmas, and in that context Advent Wreath serves as a reminder of the approach of the feast.
More recently, some Eastern Orthodox
families have adopted an Advent wreath with six candles symbolizing the longer Advent season in Orthodox tradition.

Looking Back - Riots Breakout In Brixton

On this day in 1995, hundreds of black and white youths took to the streets of Brixton, in south London attacking police, ransacking shops and burning cars after the death of a black man in police custody.
About 50 police officers in riot gear formed a line across Brixton's main road to stifle pockets of trouble and prevent anyone entering the area - the scene of massive rioting in 1981 caused by racial tensions.
One report said two shots were fired as the centre of the demonstration moved into the area of the Ritzy cinema.
A police motor cyclist is reported to have been pulled from his machine by a crowd of at least 10 rioters.
Officers sealed off a two-mile area around the centre of Brixton and both Brixton and neighbouring Stockwell tube stations were closed.
A police helicopter was despatched over the area.
Riots broke out after a peaceful picket of the police station - triggered by the death the previous week of Wayne Douglas, 26.
Police said Mr Douglas, who was being questioned about a burglary, collapsed at the local police station.
A post-mortem later revealed he had suffered from heart disease.
The protest about his death developed into a march down Brixton's main street.
A standoff ensued between the police and about 100 demonstrators triggering a backlash of violence.
Witnesses reported hearing groups of black youths shouting "Killers, killers" at the police.
A spokeswoman for the police said seven civilian casualties had been reported so far, and police were also dealing with sporadic pockets of trouble in the area around Brixton town centre.
She said there had been unconfirmed reports of petrol bombs being ignited.
"Officers were wearing protective clothing because we had reports of missiles being thrown," she added.
"We gave them every opportunity to move off peacefully but they hadn't done so."

The violence continued for five hours and 22 people were arrested and charged with public order offences, theft and criminal damage and three police officers were hurt.
Riots in Brixton hit the headlines again in July 2001 after an estimated 100 youths went on the rampage, looting and breaking shop windows.
It was triggered by the fatal shooting by police of a man they mistakenly believed had been brandishing a gun.
Twenty-seven people were arrested after these riots.
Alex Owolade, chairman of the anti-racist group Movement for Justice, said the violence was a rebellion against years of "racist injustice" by police in an impoverished area plagued by racial tension.

To watch video footage of the trouble, click on the link below:

Today's Smile

Always keep your mind on the job!!

Who Am I?

Today's Who Am I? asks you to identify a mystery celebrity from the 10 clues given below. Can you work out who the mystery person is?

01 I was born 28 March 1986.
02 My place of birth was New York City.
03 I attended the Roman Catholic school Convent of the Sacred Heart.
04 I wrote my first piano ballad at the age of 13.
05 At the age of 14 I began performing at the 'open mic nights.
06 I studied music and song writing at New York University's 'Tisch School of the Arts'.
07 I have written songs for Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears and New Kids on the Block, among others.
08 I was named best new artist 2009 at the MTV Video Music awards.
09 I am a natural brunette but bleached my hair blonde because I used to get mistaken for Amy Winehouse.
10 I was very recently introduced to the Queen.

Good luck. Answer in tomorrow's Journal.

Microsoft Updates