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Advent is the first season of the liturgical year within the Catholic church.  Its is a period of waiting that occupies the four weeks prior to Christmas.  Advent is a season that should be used for penance, and reflection to ready the Christian person for the arrival of the Christ child.

The use of the word Advent stems from Latin and means second coming. It is a season that looks forward to the second coming of Jesus and yes has mindful and penitential elements as well. It is a true season of preparation, and not just for Christmas itself but also the second coming the Lord.  Advent also draws from the Hebrews who were the ones who were originally waiting for their Messiah.

In the western churches, Advent begins on Advent Sunday or the first day of the liturgical year. And, this Sunday is also the first Sunday of Advent. The garments of the priest are now a deep purple and that keeps with the penitential spirit of the sacrament.

The earliest writings on the season date back to 480, according to when St. Gregory, who document St. Perpetuus in his book the History of the Franks. There was a passage that spoke of fasting three times a week from the feast of St. Martin, customarily Nov 11, until Christmas and said that St. Perpetuus spoke of it. Although it is unsure whether he started the custom or was speaking of an existing one. Also he denoted the period of 40 days equal to many things in the early Jewish and Christian churches. Jesus was in the desert for 40 days as were the Israelites. Noah’s flood was 40 days and in the more modern times, Lent also was 40 days. Advent was also thought of as a second Lenten Season and was viewed the same as the penitential elements of Lent so were Advent.

The Council of Tours in 567 addressed fasting implored the monks to fast every day from the first day Day of December until Christmas. The penitential practice soon became a full 40 days and how the feast of St. Martin was picked. Advent called in the early church St. Martin’s Lent.  Then in 582, the First Council of Macon  specified that the days between St. Martin’s to Christmas be days of fasting, designating Monday, Wednesday and Friday as those days. The canon went on to say these days should be treated the same as Lent.

There were other writings of that time including the Capitularia of Charlemagne further defined the period of Advent and in the book Institution of Clerics, The observance of Advent was again spoken. The early church worked very hard to tie the period to Lent so that the waiting and penance of Lent would be brought about in Advent as well. Advent allowed the believer to prepare his heart for the Lord. It allows the heart to be born anew if the period is observed properly. The Infant Jesus is a reminder for our own innocence and our ability to reclaim that during Advent.  

Up a level: Liturgical Calendar
Related Topics:
  • Lenten Season
  • Easter Season
  • Below is a list of articles with the most recent ones listed first.
    What Is A Fontanini Advent Calendar
    A Fontanini Advent calendar is a very specific type of calendar that many people follow. It represents the Advent that many Catholics celebrate. This is the period in December at the beginning of the month to the days until Christmas the calendar represents. Fontanini makes these out of wood and the...
    Published: Tuesday 07 June, 2011
    History Of The Celtic Advent Wreath
    The Celtic advent wreath is a symbol of unity and waiting. This garland of evergreens holds four candles traditionally and represents the days after Christmas when Christians wait for the coming of Christ.
    Published: Tuesday 07 June, 2011
    Facts About The Advent Wreath
    The Advent wreath is a long held tradition among Christians. Although not all Christians oversee this tradition, it is still in modern day celebrations. As many people may or not be aware, the Advent is in the month of December, following the days before Christmas.
    Published: Tuesday 07 June, 2011
    Advent Candles and the Advent Wreath Traditions of Christmas
    Advent candles are an important part of the Christmas season.
    Published: Monday 23 August, 2010
    Advent Wreath: One of Christianity’s Christmas Traditions
    The Advent wreath, otherwise known as the Advent crown, is one of the symbols of the Christian season of Advent, which is a season in the liturgical calendar that takes place four weeks before Christmas.
    Published: Monday 23 August, 2010
    Advent Candles Light Path to Christmas
    Advent Candles Light the path to Christ in Christmas.
    Published: Friday 26 March, 2010
    Advent Wreath a Circle of Unity
    The advent wreath has become the symbol of christian unity where as it now extends to many of the different western religions
    Published: Wednesday 24 March, 2010
    Irish advent wreath blends season and roots
    Irish advent wreaths are a great way to tie family history and the historic roots of the church.
    Published: Friday 12 February, 2010
    Irish Advent wreath- A hint of Green
    Irish advent wreath has a Celtic spin on the design
    Published: Saturday 09 January, 2010
    Advent Wreaths anticipate Christs birth
    Advent is the four weeks before Christmas when Christians anticipate the birth of Jesus. In an Advent wreath there are four or five candles on a horizontal wreath, one being lit each week until Christmas where the fifth one is lit on Christmas Eve after sunset. Purple is the color of Advent symboliz...
    Published: Tuesday 24 November, 2009
    Advent Wreath History Predates Catholic Church
    The advent wreath has a long history that seems to date back to the early Germanic and Scandanvian tribes that were long before the Catholic Church incorporated them into the pentential Season of Advent.
    Published: Tuesday 17 November, 2009
    Advent Wreath Candles
    Advent Wreath Candles have been a focal point of the Advent wreath. However it is possible that the advent wreat candle predated the actual advent wreath or season.
    Published: Tuesday 17 November, 2009
    Advent Wreath Decoration Ideas
    Decoration your advent wreath can be a wide way to personalize Christmas and bring it to your home.
    Published: Tuesday 17 November, 2009
    Advent Ideas for Children
    Advent is a prime season to keep children engaged in the real meaning of christmas and not just being centered on themselves.
    Published: Tuesday 17 November, 2009
    Explanation of Advent
    Advent is the penitential setup right before Christmas so believers are prepared.
    Published: Sunday 11 October, 2009
    Nativity Advent Wreath Makes a Unique Combo
    The Nativity Advent Wreath Makes an interesting way to have both the period before and during Christmas equally represented.
    Published: Sunday 11 October, 2009
    Children and Advent
    Advent is a time to help children learn their faith. There are great old testament stories to help teach a child about the history of Jesus and the promise he brings.
    Published: Sunday 11 October, 2009
    Advent Wreath Myths
    There are many stories on how an advent wreath came to be. This sets the records straight.
    Published: Sunday 11 October, 2009
    All About Advent Candles
    A look at the advent candle. From use to safety.
    Published: Sunday 11 October, 2009
    Advent Calendars Rich History
    Advent Calendars were started in Germany.
    Published: Sunday 11 October, 2009
    LED Advent Candles Enhances Child Safety
    LED Advent Candles allow children to participate in the lighting of the advent wreath with added attention paid to their safety.
    Published: Tuesday 06 October, 2009
    Jesse Tree Ornaments
    A Jesse tree is a usually a leafless branch that is put into a small flower pot and is used to represent Jesus. Used on Both Easter and Christmas the Jesse tree is a much more spiritually type of decoration to use during the weeks before Christmas.
    Published: Monday 05 October, 2009
    Advent Wreath
    Some decorations are very religious and spiritual and some are just meant to send out a good vibe for the holidays. One symbol of Christmas that is not seen very often in indoors decorations or outdoor decoration is the Advent Wreath.
    Published: Monday 05 October, 2009
    Celtic Advent Wreath
    The advent of the Christmas festival is celebrated world over by the Christians. The history of Celtic advent wreath dates back to pre-Christian era of the northern Europe, where people lived in forests. They were spiritually connected to forest spirits and Gods and believed that the passing of seas...
    Published: Tuesday 29 September, 2009
    Celtic Advent wreath Two Thousand years later
    Advent and Lent share a 1700 year history, with the Celtic culture putting a unique spin on the tradition.
    Published: Monday 28 September, 2009
    Jesse Tree Advent Wreath
    The Jesse Tree and the season of Advent are the pefect complements as they symbolize the lineage of Christ.
    Published: Friday 29 May, 2009
    Celtic Advent Wreath Blends Religion and Culture
    Celtic advent weraths knot Religion and Culture.
    Published: Thursday 28 May, 2009
    Advent Wreath and Candles
    The overview of the Advent season and its roots into early christianity
    Published: Thursday 28 May, 2009
    The Claddaugh Advent wreath is a show of commitment to the family and to the Lord.
    Published: Saturday 16 May, 2009
    Advent Wreath Traditions
    Using the Advent wreath.
    Published: Saturday 16 May, 2009
    Displaying 1 to 30 (of 49 articles) Result Pages:  1  2  [Next >>]