Advent is the season before Christmas during which Christians celebrate
the birth of Jesus.
Western Christendom, four Sundays are included, but in the East the season
is longer and begins in the middle of November.
Advent always finishes on Christmas Eve. If that falls on a Sunday, it is
considered to be the fourth Sunday of Advent.
name Advent comes from the Latin word 'adventus' meaning arrival.
an advent wreath and four candles - one to symbolise each of the Sundays
in Advent, Christians celebrate this time of year by praying together and
enjoying the time as a family.
calendars were created to hold the younger members of the families'
attention during the time, helping them to count down the days until
calendars have since gone on to be used by non-Christians, and sold with
chocolates inside for each day.
candles are used within the church environment during advent, but lots of
Christians will burn an Advent candle at home too.
candles will come with markings down them, and will be burnt down each day
to the next marker, so the candle will be fully burnt away come Christmas
Catholic churches , the most popular colours for the Advent candles are
purple and rose.
is the colour for the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday from
the Latin word for 'rejoice', and the rose colour is a mix of the purple,
and white - representing that Christmas is coming.
Protestant churches, it is more usual to use four red candles, which is
more in keeping with traditional Christmas decoration colour.
variations of the Advent wreath add a white candle in the centre to
symbolize Christmas, sometimes known as the 'Christ candle'. It can be lit
on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.