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News release - Issued by York Minster

PHOTOCALL: Giant Advent wreath raised at York Minster

One of the largest Advent wreaths in the country will be created at York Minster this week, marking the start of the cathedral’s Advent and Christmas festivities.

The 3m wide wreath will be made by York Minster’s volunteer flower arrangers on Friday 27 November using foliage from locations around the city.

The giant wreath, which is suspended below the central tower, holds five candles - each 1m tall and capable of burning constantly for three weeks - and one is lit each Sunday during the four weeks of Advent, with the final candle lit on Christmas Day.

Children from the Minster School’s Pre-Prep and reception classes will help Head Verger Alex Carberry lift the candles into place, then watch as the giant wreath is raised.

“It’s become an annual tradition for the children to help install the candles and then magically ‘lift’ the wreath into place,” explains Mr Carberry.

“We’re very lucky to have a talented and dedicated team of flower arrangers who spend around three hours making the wreath every year, using more than 12 metres of oasis and incorporating drip trays the size of kitchen woks to catch any wax dripping from the candles as they burn.

“The finished piece always looks stunning and becomes a focal point for worshippers and visitors throughout the Advent and Christmas period.”

The wreath’s first candle will be lit on Sunday 29 November, the first Sunday of Advent, at the 10am Eucharist service. The candles remain lit until the Feast of Epiphany on 6 January, although at least two will need to be replaced during the five weeks.

The Reverend Canon Dr Christopher Collingwood, Chancellor of York Minster, said: “Advent is a time of waiting and expectation, as the church prepares to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas Day.

“The wreath shows everyone coming into the cathedral that we are in the season of Advent and are counting down the days until Jesus’ arrival.

“The candles themselves represent the people who waited for the coming of Christ, with the fifth and final candle representing the birth of Christ, the light of the world.”

The raising of the Advent wreath marks the start of the cathedral’s busiest time of year, with a range of seasonal services, concerts and activities taking place throughout November and December. The start of Advent will officially be marked on Sunday 29 November with the breathtaking Advent Procession, followed by the popular Christmas Carol Concerts on 4 and 5 December and the York Minster Choir’s performance of Handel’s famous oratorio Messiah on 12 December.

A range of Christmas craft activities to create the perfect handmade seasonal item will also take place on Saturdays during December, starting with a Christmas embroidery workshop on 5 December.

For full details of all services, events and activities, see our ‘What’s On’ pages at


* Any media interested in attending the event must contact the Minster’s communications team in advance using the details below and are advised to arrive by 10.30am to capture the finishing touches being added to the wreath, before it is raised at approximately 11am.*

For media enquiries please contact:

Leanne Woodhurst – Communications Manager – t: 01904 559534 m: 07824 017585

Sharon Atkinson – Director of Communications – t: 01904 557248 m: 07785 615457

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