Advent wreaths made of pine branches with four candles are one of the most popular symbols of the festive season in Germany. The four candles symbolise the four Advent Sundays before Christmas. The wreath originated in Hamburg, where protestant theologian Johann Hinrich Wichern created the first Advent wreath for the children living in his "Rauhes Haus" charity in 1839. Wichern conceived the Advent wreath as a way to count down the days until Christmas. His first wreath was built on a wagon wheel and had one candle to mark each day from the first Advent Sunday until Christmas Eve. Over the years, pine branches were added to decorate the wheel and with time, Advent wreaths could be found in homes all over Germany.