Advent calendars help to get excited and in the festive mood, especially during this pandemic they help us to think of something to come but what? let’s lets take a closer look .

The word “Advent” comes from the Latin phrase adventus, “coming toward.” For Christians, it was seen as a time that marked Christ’s second coming to judge humanity.

The first Advent was celebrated in AD567 when monks fasted in the month before Christmas.

The history of the advent calendar

In the Middle Ages advent started to be used to herald the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, and acting as a countdown to Christ’s birth.

If you need more chocolate then follow the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, they need another 15 doors because their Advent lasts 40 days and is known as the Nativity Fast, starting on November 15

Originally, advent calendars were a box with a glass lid on top and ribbons and flowers with two dolls representing Mary and baby Jesus.

The box was carried door to door, and it was said to be bad luck if you hadn’t seen one before Christmas Eve.

Lutherans in 19th century Germany, made chalk marks on doors from December 1st until the 24th.

At home, an advent calendar is typically box-shaped with hinged doors hiding treats behind them.

In Christian churches today they are Advent wreaths made from a circle of intertwined evergreen branches, to symbolise never-ending life. On top of this wreath are five candles Four, which are typically red, are placed on the outside of the wreath, the fifth candle – traditionally white – sits in the middle of the wreath.

The four candles represent each of the four Sundays of Advent, and the fifth candle marks Christmas day.

Each Sunday the priest will light another candle so that during the last week before Christmas all four red candles on the wreath twinkle with light. The white candle is lit on December 25 – the day of Jesus Christ’s birth.

The four advent Sunday candles carry traditional Christian meanings behind them:

The Candle of Hope –symbolises light in the darkness. When Christians look at this candle it should celebrate the hope they have in Jesus Christ.

The Candle of Peace –symbolises the peace people find in Christ.

The Candle of Love – this should instil a feeling of love and adoration in Jesus.

The Candle of Joy –symbolises joy.

The two contenders for the very first Advent Calendars are according to the Landes museum in Austria,

The first one was made in Hamburg in 1902 by a protestant bookshop owner.

Others claim that the first hand made calendar was made in Germany in the late 19th century for a child named Gerhard Lang. his mother stuck 24 tiny sweets to a square of cardboard, for her son to eat over the Advent period.

This simple idea stayed with Lang and when, as an adult, he went into partnership with his friend Reichhold, they opened a printing office. In 1908 they produced what is thought to be the first-ever printed Advent Calendar.

The first Advent calendars containing chocolate were produced by Fry and son in bristol in 1958.

The town of Gengenbach on the edge of the Black Forest in Germany takes advantage of the fact that its picturesque 18th century town hall has 24 windows facing the main square

Different types of advent calendar round the world, Advent takes different forms: in China, Christian celebrate Christmas by hanging up colourful paper lanterns and red paper pagodas in windows

Lutheran Churches in Scandinavia light 24 miniature candles to count down the days of December.

In Germany, people hang 24 boxes from  a wreath of fir branches, and open a box (containing a small gift) for each day.

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