On Sunday, it’s the first day of Advent. The word‘advent’ comes from the Latin word for ‘arrival’ and obviously refers to the birth of Jesus, even though most children are probably more looking forward to a visit from Father Christmas! During this time, almost every window in Sweden is decorated with electric Advent Lights and Moravian Stars in order to light up the dark winter evenings. It is welcoming, cosy and festive.
This candle tradition started in Sweden in the 1930s. At that time, many Swedish homes had a candleholder with four candles; these were lit one at a time, every Sunday on Advent until Christmas Eve. In other countries with protestant traditions, it was more common to have an Advent wreath with four candles. Irrespective of the shape, candles have always been an important part of Christmas and the few wax candles that were made in the homes were often saved for the festive season.
For children, opening the doors of the Adventcalendar is often the most interesting part of the first Sunday in Advent. Apparently, this type of countdown to Christmasdates back to the early part of the 19th century. Some people simply used a piece of chalk to draw lines on the wall, one at a time, day after day. Others lit a new candle each day, or hung a small religious picture. Another old tradition in the Nordic countries was to carry out one specific Christmas-related task every day from the first of Advent until Christmas. For example, it was customary to sample Christmas beer on the 9 December.
What are you looking forward to the most as we approach Advent? Please add your comments below.