Advent Begins kicks off on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve on December 24. This year, it will be observed from November 27 to December 24. Did you know that the origins of Advent go as far back as the fifth century? Advent is marked by Christians, especially Catholics and Jews, to celebrate the Nativity of Jesus Christ at Christmas and the second coming of Christ. In a secular sense, it marks the beginning of the anticipation for the Christmas and holiday season. During the Advent weeks, Christians light an Advent wreath, keep an Advent calendar, pray an Advent daily devotional, and generally begin preparing for Christmas.
History of Advent Begins
The Advent calendar is a key part of the Advent customs, helping Christians count the day until Christmas Eve. Over the years, it has become a part of the Christmas celebrations, widely used worldwide. The traditional Advent four-week season begins four weeks and Sundays before Christmas. It is termed to be the beginning of the liturgical year.
Since its introduction in the fifth century, the 19th century saw the Advent calendar evolve from a simple calendar with doors concealing a picture or a Bible verse to including chocolates, cheese, alcohol, or make-up.
The tradition of counting the days until Christmas began in the mid-19th century when German Lutheran families marked each day until Christmas Eve with a chalk line. In the early 1900s, German printer Gerhard Lang began designing Advent calendars using cardboards. By the 1920s, these cardboard Advent calendars started having little cut-out doors with a devotional picture or Bible verse hidden behind them. During World War II, the production of the calendars dwindled as Germany began rationing cardboards and in the 1930s, Lang completely stopped his production of Advent calendars.
Looking to enforce the state’s ideology on the younger generations, Nazi Germany employed the Advent calendar to inculcate loyalty into children. In 1943, the Third Reich produced its version of the Advent calendar, which included images of swastikas, Nazi symbols, and tanks.
When the war ended, a few resumed the production of Advent calendars as cardboard became a surplus. One of the popular manufacturers was Richard Sellmer of Stuttgart, whose company still exists today. In the 1950s, his calendars were exported to the United States, and they became a part of the American Christmas tradition.
Moving on to 1953, “Newsweek” published a photograph of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s grandchildren with an Advent calendar. That photograph is what many consider to have boosted the calendar’s popularity in the United States. The first chocolate Advent calendar was produced in 1958 and Cadbury joined the race for this special type of Advent calendar in 1971. Since then, different companies have been marketing Advent calendars with different products, expanding the target audience from children to include the adult population.
Advent Begins timeline
German printer Gerhard Lang designs Advent calendars using cardboards.
Lang introduces Advent calendars with doors concealing a devotional picture or a Bible verse.
Sellmer starts exporting Advent calendars to the United States.
The first chocolate Advent calendar is produced.
Advent Begins FAQs
What are the four themes of Advent?
The traditional themes of Advent for the four Advent Sundays in the U.K. are the God’s people; The Old Testament prophets; John the Baptist; and Mary the Mother of Jesus. The Advent themes for the Roman Catholic Church are the Second Coming of Christ; John the Baptist; John the Baptist and the joy associated with the coming of the savior; and Mary and Joseph.
What do the four candles of Advent represent in order?
The candles on the Advent wreath symbolize hope, love, joy, and peace. The candles are usually lit in that order.
What are the three meanings of Advent?
Advent focuses on the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem, the reception of Christ in the hearts of believers, and the second coming of Christ.
How to Observe Advent Begins
Light the Advent wreath
The lighting of the Advent wreath is one of the primary customs during Advent, done in homes and churches. The wreaths usually have four to five candles, depending on the church. Each candle symbolizes the stages of salvation before the coming of Christ. If you’re interested in following Advent traditions, head out to a store near you and buy an Advent wreath. Remember that each candle is lit on each Sunday of Advent.
Keep the Advent calendar
Keeping the Advent calendar is one of the fun aspects of Advent, at least from a secular point of view. Most Advent calendars now come with food, drinks, or beauty products to enjoy on each day of Advent until Christmas Eve. You can check online or at a superstore near you for an Advent calendar. The calendar can give your loved ones a taste of what they should expect as a Christmas gift. It can also help keep your kids occupied until Christmas.
Start preparing for Christmas
Advent marks the beginning of the four weeks before Christmas. You can use that time to get many things done before Christmas finally arrives. That can include house cleaning, decorations, shopping for a Christmas tree and presents for your loved ones, and creating your plans for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
5 Fun Facts About Advent
It has other names
In Eastern Churches, Advent is known as St. Philip’s Fast, The Nativity Fast, Winter Lent, or Christmas Lent.
It has a unique tradition in France
During Advent, farmers in Normandy employ children below 12 years to run through their fields and orchards with torches and set fire to bundles of straws.
It always has four Sundays
Regardless of when Advent begins, there are always four Sundays in it.
Fasting is slowly phasing out
While some pious Christians still fast, a majority don’t fast during Advent. Eastern Church Christians are more likely to fast than members of Western Churches.
The largest Advent calendar
The largest Advent calendar was built at St Pancras station, the U.K. with a height and width of 71 meters and 23 meters respectively.
Why Advent Begins is Important
It's the beginning of the Christmas Season
Some people mark the Advent weeks by doing Christmas cleaning and shopping. They also take out the Christmas decorations from the store or garage and start putting them up. Others start creating and finalizing their holiday plans and bookings.
It’s a time of spiritual reflection
While Advent may be a time for joyous anticipation for Christmas, it’s more spiritual for pious Christians. Advent serves as a period for Christians to reflect on the world before Christ and the importance of His coming to the world. Churches also use Advent to prepare the congregation’s hearts for the true meaning of Christmas.
It's a time for rededication
There are Christians who use this time to rededicate themselves to Christ. The fast, sermons, wreath lighting, carol services held in churches, and the likes all serve as a remembrance of how God loved humanity. It also serves as a season to continually remember to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ.
Advent Begins dates