For many of us, it’s likely that the word “Advent” is synonymous with one thing: chocolate.
That daily sweet treat (or maybe something more exotic / drizzled / extravagant) in the preparation for Christmas might be the only time you really think about the season.
But for those who want to know a little more before the holiday season, here is the story of Advent and how the calendar tradition developed.
When is Advent 2021?
Technically, according to Christian tradition, the Advent season does not always start on December 1 as your calendar would have you believe – although it does sometimes.
In fact, Advent Sunday, the date that marks its beginning, is calculated from the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which means that Advent 2021 begins on Sunday, November 28, one day earlier than the day before Christmas. ‘last year.
The format means Advent can begin on any date between November 27 and December 3, and occasionally collides with St. Andrew’s, the celebration of Scotland’s patron saint, which falls on November 30.
In years when St. Andrew’s Day clashes with Advent Sunday, the Scottish public holiday is pushed back a day later to Monday, December 1.
Regardless of when Advent Sunday falls, the observance always lasts until December 24 – Christmas Eve – which this year is a Thursday.
What is the meaning of Advent?
The Christian season of Advent commemorates the expectation and preparation for the birth of Jesus on Christmas.
Its name comes from the appropriate Latin word “adventus”, which is translated differently as coming, coming, or maturing, the celebration dating back to the early centuries of Christianity.
Historically, it is associated with a period of fasting, the Second Council of Tours calling on monks to abstain throughout the month of December 567.
During Advent, the first and second coming of Christ are celebrated through readings in church, while the season also marks the beginning of the Western liturgical year.
Various traditions have arisen which mark the period, from wreaths and the lighting of Advent candles or Christingles to more general Christmas preparations like trees, Christmas carols and decorations.
Why do we have advent calendars?
For many, however, the period means one thing, and only one thing: Advent calendars.
The tradition originated in German Protestants in the 1800s as a way for children to count to Christmas Day, and spread across the world during the 20th century to become the main secular celebration of the season.
Gerhard Lang is believed to have created the first commercially printed Advent calendar in 1908, inspired by his mother, who sewn 24 cookies into the lid of a tin and allowed him to eat one a day until December.
Traditionally, calendars can be adorned with Bible verses, nativity scenes and other religious images, or daily chocolates or treats.
However, in recent years the market has exploded, with more and more extravagant and elaborate designs, sometimes at exorbitant prices.
Advent calendars these days can contain just about anything from cosmetics and protein bars to craft beer, wine, gin and whiskey.