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What is advent and why is it important?

Published 2 months ago. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.

Sep 27

Ahh advent calendars, the sure sign Christmas is well and truly round the corner! Waking up on that first day in December knowing we get to open the very first door to a treat that awaits us day after day all the way to Christmas Eve leaves us with that familiar, warm fuzzy feeling. Right?! In fact, advent calendars have been an annual ritual since before we can remember, but what is advent, where did this tradition come from and why is it important? Read on to find out…

What is advent?

Advent, or the Latin Adventus, means “arrival” or “coming” and this period on religious calendars is marked as the preparation for the birth of Jesus. We may only have advent calendars from the 1st of December but traditionally, advent is celebrated for the four weeks in the run-up to Christmas Day, this year starting on 27th November through to 24th December.

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Marking the start of the Christian year in the Christian church calendar, advent is celebrated not only as a preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but also as a preparation for the Second Coming – the belief that Jesus will return again.

While advent and Christmas are religious events, they are observed and celebrated widely across the globe by non-religious people, using advent calendars to countdown to Christmas Day.

The history behind advent calendars

Whether you have a beautifully illustrated paper advent calendar, a winter scented advent candle, a go-to chocolate advent calendar or a modern advent calendar, like our 24 days of stationery advent calendar, they’ve been a custom in our lives since before we can remember but you’ll be fascinated to know advent calendars can be traced back to the 1800’s!

The very first advent calendar concept originated in the 19th century when German protestants began burning candles each day and marking walls or doors with a chalk line, very different to the advent calendars we know today!

Advent calendars as we know them now with doors to open first appeared in the 20th century in Germany. The creation of our beloved advent calendar has been widely credited to Gerhard Lang, who produced the first printed version after he was inspired by a childhood tradition of his own. His mother would celebrate advent by attaching 24 sweet treats to cardboard squares and Lang later added little doors that has undoubtedly inspired the magnificent advent calendars of today.

And there you have it! When you’re opening the first little door of your advent calendar, you’ll no longer be wondering what is advent and know a little more about the history behind this lovely celebration.


P.S. Looking for your next advent calendar? Make sure you don’t miss our personalised 24 days of stationery advent calendar, back again after its sell-out success last year! Go, go, go!

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