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Symbolism

Prayer beads are imbued with symbolism. Anglican prayer beads have 33 beads divided into four weeks of seven, four cruciform beads representing the cross, and an invitatory bead.

Symbolism DiagramThere are four seasons in the solar year:  Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Many religious holy days, like Christmas and Easter fall around the equinox or change points of these seasons.

The Christian year has seven seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost. The seven beads, the weeks, are also associated with completion or spiritual perfection.

Jesus’ life on Earth was 33 years. There are 33 beads in the Anglican rosary.

Praying through the beads three times, to signify the trinity, involves 99 beads, a number significant in Middle Eastern religion as the 99 names of God. Ending with the cross brings the number to 100, the number of beads in an Orthodox rosary, which represents the fullness of creation.

The prayer beads form a circle. Praying through the beads symbolizes ones journey on the wheel of time.