Many people associate the Advent season with Christmas impressions. It is the weeks before Christmas when old traditions and customs play an important role. It is a time with a special atmosphere that many of us associate with the impressions of our childhood. It is a time of reflection but also of Christmas hectic.
Do you want to know what Advent is all about and what customs and traditions you have during Advent?
Where does the name "Advent" come from? Why is the time called "Advent season"?
The Eenglish word Advent is derived from the Latin "adventus". Its meaning was translated as arrival. What was meant was the arrival, i.e. the birth, of Jesus of Nazareth. In the last weeks before the birthday of Christ, Christians all over the world prepare for the high feast of the birth of Jesus Christ: for the Incarnation of God, for Christmas, which is celebrated on 24 December. The last 4 Sundays before Christmas are the Advent Sundays. The first Sunday in Advent falls on a date at the end of November or in some years at the beginning of December.
Where is the origin of Advent?
The Latin "adventus" corresponded to the translated term "appearance". With (ancient Greek) epiphaneia Greeks denoted the appearance, the arrival, presence, the visit of kings or high dignitaries: or the arrival of one of the gods in the temple. The early Christians adopted the name.
In the traditional church, Advent was a time of fasting between 11 November and the original Christmas date of 6 January. During this time there was neither celebration nor dancing. In some countries (e.g. the Netherlands) Christmas is still celebrated on 6 January.
In Roman influence, the Advent season was shortened from 6 to 4 Sundays in the 7th century with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar by Pope Gregory.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church the Advent season has remained a time of fasting which begins 40 days before Christmas.
Importance of the Advent season
Advent with its 4 Sundays always begins on the 4 Sunday before the fixed end date of Christmas on 25 December. Thus, depending on the year, the first Advent Sunday is between 27 November and 3 December.
Traditionally, the period is accompanied by an Advent wreath. Every Sunday in Advent one of the 4 candles on the wreath is lit. This custom is one of the most famous traditions in Advent. And hand on heart: it is always a beautiful opportunity to open oneself to the fascination of candlelight and its meditative effect. With its green twigs and the glowing candles, it is always a special decoration that unfolds its effect in the room.
Further customs in Advent:
- Naturally the Advent calendar
- special liturgies in Advent with special masses
- Advent decoration
- Advent punch
- Baking, baking, baking