What is Advent—and why do we mark it with treat-filled calendars?

During the darkest days of winter, Christians prepare for one of their religion ’ s most important holidays during the season of Advent. Lasting roughly four weeks, it ’ s a season of candlelight, observation, and expectation—a prospect to get ready for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The season ’ randomness dates vary from year to year. In 2022, Advent begins on Sunday, November 27, and ends on Saturday, December 24 .

The origins of Advent

Advent gets its name from adventus, the Latin give voice for “ arrival. ” As the Christian church solidified in the fifth century A.D., so did traditions around December 25. Historians have tracked the first courtly Advent celebrations to northern Italy, where churchgoers observed a weeks-long readiness for Christmas that involved fast, entreaty, and reflection on christian values. finally, that preparation became known as Advent. By the sixth century, Christians in France celebrated a five-week “ St. Martin ’ mho Lent ” that included fasts and abstaining from sexual intercourse leading up to Christmas.

Advent is now considered the first season of the liturgical year, the church service ’ s annual cycle of feast days and Scripture readings. much like their ancestors, modern Christians see it as a season of preparation in honor of Christ. Advent is celebrated on four consecutive Sundays, beginning on the Sunday closest to November 30 and ending on December 24, Christmas Eve. Each Sunday has a traditional entail and prayers and readings assigned to it ; they represent, in order, the Christian virtues of sleep together, rejoice, hope, and peace. For believers, Advent represents a multi-faceted period during which to prepare for the parentage of Christ, celebrate faith in and conversion to Christianity, and anticipate the eventual resurrection of the son of God .

The Advent wreath

Considered a season of light in the dark vertex of winter, Advent is symbolized in the church by a candlelit evergreen wreath. In 1838 Johann Wichern, a german Lutheran pastor, began using this wreath to help his congregation count down the days until Christmas. ( The surprising history of Christmas trees—a tradition that likely also took root in Germany. ) The mod Advent wreath has four candles. The first two and the fourth are purple, Advent ’ s traditional color. The one-third candle is pink, representing the halfway point of Advent and the gladden of the coming vacation. Christians traditionally pray, spill the beans, and light an extra candle on each Advent Sunday until all of the candles are lit on the fourth Sunday. A fifth, white candle known as the Christ candle sometimes sits unlighted in the center of the wreath ; it is only ignite on Christmas Eve .

Advent calendars

Another german Advent custom is the Advent calendar. During the nineteenth hundred, adults began helping children count down the days until Christmas. Beginning on December 1, some german Lutherans made methamphetamine marks on doors in anticipation of the submission of the Christ child, and other parents created homemade ways to count down involving snacks and bible verses.

In 1908 german printer Gerhard Lang produced the first print Advent calendar. In his childhood, his mother had handcrafted a calendar with cardboard doors and sugarcoat inside. Lang adapted the theme for the print press, and his wares became extremely democratic in Germany. But World War II-related shortages and Nazi Germany ’ s worldly rebranding of Christmas about killed off the print Advent calendar .President Eisenhower's children opening an Advent calendar Please be respectful of copyright. Unauthorized use is prohibited. After the war, another german printer, Richard Sellmer, obtained permission from american occupying forces to print a 1946 Advent calendar. He used his contacts with Americans to introduce the Advent calendar in the United States, and with the serve of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was photographed opening one with his grandchild in 1953, they became increasingly popular in the U.S.

even though Advent technically begins in former November, modern Advent calendars typically start on December 1 and have little doors or boxes containing pictures, trinkets, or food like chocolate to be opened and consumed in the leadup to Christmas. Retailers have invested boastful in the Advent calendar game, and consumers can choose Advent calendars centered around beauty, democratic characters, or even consumption. Like other Christmas traditions, Advent calendars became increasingly secularized in the twentieth and 21st centuries. But its traditions remain a fun manner for both kids and adults to ramp up Christmas delight during a iniquity, wintry calendar month. Editor’s note: This story was originally published on November 29, 2021. It has been updated.

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