During the first two weeks of Advent we light the first two purple candles. The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for the birth of Jesus on Christmas day is almost over. Rose is a liturgical colour that is used to signify joy, so we light the single pink candle on the third Sunday of Advent.
Then on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the final purple candle is lit to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait expectantly for the soon-coming birth of the King of Kings.
Traditionally, each of the four Advent candles have a deeper meaning which is depicted in the lovely Four Weeks of Advent Pewter Wreath:
The 1st Sunday of Advent symbolises Hope with the “Prophet’s Candle” reminding us that Jesus is coming.
The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolises Faith with the “Bethlehem Candle” reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
The 3rd Sunday (Gaudete Sunday) of Advent symbolises Joy with the “Shepherd’s Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus.