Gauss-Advent Calendar: Advent Season

Gauss-Advent Calendar: Advent Season

by Yassi Kafshi

The word Advent comes from Latin and means “arrival” (Latin: adventus). This has a double meaning for Christians.

On the one hand it reminds of Jesus‘ first arrival, i.e. his birth. On the other hand, during Advent Christians wair for Jesus to return. The Sundays in Advent symbolize the waiting for Jesus to return after all for the Last Judgement. The humid morning dew, the arriving ship and the shining star are Christian symbols of the Advent season.

The Advent season begins in Germany with the 4th Sunday before Christmas Eve and is considered a special time of expectation. During the Advent season Germans prepare for Christmas. The streets of the city are brightly lit and everywhere are hanging fairy lights and colorful decorations. The windows are decorated by stars and other paper figures. People start baking Christmas cookies and special Christmas cakes. Two of the most popular customs in Germany are Advent calendar and Advent wreath. Especially many children but also adults have an Advent calendar. For each of the 24 days in December until Christmas Eve you can find a piece of chocolate or something else behind small doors. But there are also Advent calendars that mothers or older children prepare by themselves and fill them with nice things like nuts, fruit, chocolate and small toys. In addition, in many apartments you can find an Advent wreath in these weeks, bound from green fir branches. There are four candles on it and every Sunday in Advent a new candle is lit. When all four candles are lit, it will soon be Christmas. To this the children sing: “Advent, Advent, a little light is burning, first one, then two, then three, then four; then the Christ Child is at the door.

Another popular custom during the Advent season is to visit the Christmas markets. Christmas markets are pre-Christmas meeting places in Germany to drink a glass of mulled wine or punch with friends, family members or colleagues. A typical Christmas market consists of numerous stalls in the streets and squares of a town, often against a historical background that attracts the public. Christmas baked goods, regional specialties and hot meals are offered. At the Christmas market there are also stalls selling Christmas articles or decorations for the Christmas tree, such as glass balls, Advent stars, tinsel, or handcrafted Christmas articles.

Another tradition in the Advent season is to attach mistletoe branches to the front door. As a symbol of Christmas, these are intended to welcome all visitors to the respective house. In the USA or England, it is a tradition to hang a mistletoe in the living room. As soon as two people stand under the branch at the same time, they have to kiss each other. 

What are the most popular Advent customs in your culture? Share them with us in the comments on Facebook or Instagram!