During Advent, people reflect on the Christmas season and prepare for the holidays. We explain everything worth knowing about the Advent season here.
When are the Advent Sundays 2022?
The first Advent this year is on November 27th. It is the earliest possible date. By the way: The first advent always follows the dead sunday.
All Advent Sundays 2022 at a glance:
- 1st Advent: November 27, 2022
- 2nd Advent: December 4, 2022
- 3rd Advent: December 11, 2022
- 4th Advent: December 18, 2022
Why is the Advent season different in length?
Since the Christmas holidays take place on fixed dates in the month, the Advent season is shifted by up to seven days every year. Since Christmas always falls on December 25th, the earliest date of the last Sunday in Advent is December 18th. For this reason, it is also possible that the first Advent begins in November – at the earliest on November 27th. – takes place. Conversely, the first and last Sundays in Advent take place on December 3rd and on Christmas Eve, December 24th respectively.
Where does the term Advent come from?
Linguistically, the term “Advent” goes back to the Latin word “adventus”, which means arrival or arrival. In the Roman Empire, the term was mainly used for the arrival of emperors or deities. The Advent season in turn described a fasting period in early Christianity, which lasted from November 11 (St. Martin’s Day) to January 6 (Epiphany). The Catholic Church required Advent fasting until 1917.
In its current form, Advent dates back to Pope Gregory the Great. He set the number of Sundays in Advent at four for the first time. This is how the 4000 years of waiting for salvation after the fall in paradise should be symbolized. In the Christian Church, Advent therefore means the joyful expectation of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of mankind.
Which customs do we associate with the Advent season?
Today, the Advent season is no longer just a Christian tradition, but a phase in which many people prepare for the Christmas holidays. This includes things like baking cookies and getting presents as well as decorating living spaces and visiting the Christmas markets.
Light plays a special role in the Advent season. In Christianity, the light symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ. The lighting of candles on the Advent wreath thus expresses the increasing expectation of the return of Jesus at Christmas. However, the wreath goes back to an idea of the theologian and educator Johann Wichern. He wanted to bring joy to street children with the Advent wreath and shorten the time until Christmas.
In many windows, arcs of light shine in different variants during the Advent season. Usually it is a bow made of wood, on which electric candles are attached. The custom of the so-called Schwibbogen comes from the Ore Mountains. This is a special form of the candle arch that goes back to the miners’ tradition and is particularly widespread in Saxony, Thuringia and the Upper Palatinate.
The advent calendar is one of the most popular customs in the run-up to Christmas. Here, too, a secular tradition derived from the originally Christian tradition. In Germany, the advent calendar, similar to lighting candles on the advent wreath, should sweeten the time until Christmas for children. Instead of chocolate, however, there were more colorful pictures hidden behind the 24 little doors.
How is Advent celebrated in other countries?
Other countries other manners. In Sweden, as well as in some other countries and regions of Scandinavia, the Advent season is traditionally celebrated with the Lucia festival as the highlight. On December 13th, the feast day of Saint Lucia, people wear white clothes and light candles. Although the ecclesiastical character is small, the Lucia Festival is a popular pre-Christmas custom.
In Estonia it is customary for children to be given small gifts during Advent. According to stories, gnomes perform the beautiful deed, while witches cause all sorts of mischief on flying broomsticks. This can be prevented by cleaning all brooms.
In the Orthodox Church, Advent is still celebrated as Lent. This begins on November 15th and ends on Christmas Eve on December 24th.