If they weren’t in York Minster the giant advent wreath would never have got off the ground.
The positioning of what is believed to be Britain’s largest suspended advent wreath is a key moment in York’s countdown to Christmas.
After it was built by the cathedral flower arrangers, it needed to be fitted with five candles.
Luckily youngsters from The Minster School were on hand to help Minster Head Verger Alex Carberry position the outer four. One will be lit on the next four Sundays.
The fifth central candle – placed in position by Head Verger Alex Carberry – will be lit on Christmas Day.
But then the 4m-wide wreath needed to be hoisted into position in the central tower. For that Mr Carberry had to ask for the help of the children, whose chants of “Up, up, up” magically powered the amazing centrepiece into position.
It will remain lit until Epiphany on January 6, with dishes the size of woks positioned to catch the dripping wax.
The raising of the Advent Wreath marks the start of York Minster’s busiest season of concerts, performances and events which run alongside the packed programme of services in the run up to Christmas.
Highlights include the Advent Procession on the evening of 27 November (starting at 5.15pm, with doors open at 4.15pm), Sankta Lucia carol service on 9 December, York Minster’s sell-out Christmas Carol Concerts on 15 and 16 December, and concerts including Handel’s Messiah performed by the York Minster Choir on 10 December.
The Advent wreath is a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages, with evergreen foliage symbolising continuous life and the circle of the wreath itself representing the eternity of God, immortality of the soul and the everlasting life found through Christ.
The four candles around the ring represent the fore-runners of Jesus: the Patriarchs, the Prophets, John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the centre of the wreath, the fifth candle represents the light of Christ coming into the world.
– Reverend Canon Dr Christopher Collingwood, Chancellor of York Minster