What is Advent? How is Advent celebrated in Germany? What kind of traditions are tied with it and what is gifted? Let’s find out in our today’s post!
In this year, the 27. November is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the Church year. Which means, that in Germany begins the official preparation for Christmas: it’s time to decorate the house, to light the first candle on the Advent wreath, to prepare gifts for loved ones and to look forward to Christmas Eve.
The word “advent” originated from the Latin word “adventus” – “coming”. This refers to the expectation of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world on the first day of Christmas.
In the year 2022 the first Advent falls on November 27th.
Each subsequent Sunday will be celebrated as follows:
- second (December 4)
- third (December 11)
- fourth Advent (December 18)
- Pre-Christmas time ands with Christmas Eve (Heiligabend) on December 24th.
- December 25th and 26th are the first and second day of Christmas (Weihnachten).
During Advent, the Holy Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary is served in the Church in the early morning. The Church considers Advent as a time of increased repentance – believers are encouraged to begin the sacrament of confession and to perform works of mercy.
Advent attributes and traditions
However, Advent is a holiday celebrated not only by the church, but also by ordinary people at home. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, Advent is a time when you can take special care of your loved ones. Parents are preparing a special gift for their children: the Advent calendar (Adventskalender). It can have different shapes, but the main thing in it is a surprise for every day. There are as many closed windows or doors in the calendar as there are days before Christmas.
Every day the child opens one of the windows and finds a small gift inside: a sweet or a toy. This is how the expectation of Christmas Eve is brightened up.
The prototype of the modern calendar dates back to the 17th century. In religious families, every day before Christmas, 24 church pictures were hung on the wall one after the other – this is how children were spiritually prepared for Christmas. The popular form of the Advent calendar today appeared quite recently, at the end of the century before last. The idea came to the mind of a German woman, Frau Lang, and made the anticipation of Christmas for her son more interesting.
It is from the very first Advent that many Germans begin to decorate houses and apartments with Christmas symbols: fir branches, decorations and garlands. Another important Advent symbol and traditional Christmas decoration is the Advent wreath (Adventskranz). It is usually made from the branches of evergreen trees and decorated with red and green ribbons, pine cones, and four candles – one for each week of Advent – which are lit in turn every Sunday of the holiday. The light of the four candles of the wreath means a gradual approach to the light of the Nativity of Christ, and the green branches of spruce or pine, closed in a circle, are a symbol of eternal life, and thereby God himself. But the Advent wreath adorns homes and non-religious Germans.
All four weeks of Advent are a happy time for those who believe in the beautiful story of Christmas. Although for non-religious people, the time of Advent is filled with a special charm, because childhood memories of the joyful anticipation of the holiday are associated with it.