Festivals IloveIndia
Advent marks the arrival of Christmas and also the beginning of the Christian year.

Christmas Advent

Advent is derived from a Latin word 'Adventus' which means 'coming'. During this time of the year, people celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who was born 2000 years ago. It was the German Lutherans who introduced the Advent calendar in order to keep a note on the progress of the season of Advent. According to the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans, Presbyterians and the Moravian calendars, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday, before the 25th of December. As per the Western traditions, Advent also marks the beginning of the Church year and therefore holds a greater significance. This time of the year, people celebrate each moment with great joy and devotion. People gather in large numbers and organize feasts, send gifts to their loved ones, sing carols, send cards, clean and decorate their homes etc. If you wish to know more about the traditions associated with Advent, read on.

Importance Of Christmas Advent

Meaning Of Advent
In Latin, the word 'Advent' means 'coming' or 'arrival'. The festival of Christmas celebrates the arrival of Lord Jesus. Advent also marks the beginning of the Christian year. Advent begins four weeks prior to Christmas, i.e. from 30 November, or its nearest Sunday, which is considered to be Church's New Year Day. From this time onwards, Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Basically, the themes of Advent indicate the preparation for the Second Coming of the Jesus. All of the four Sundays in Advent are important and special readings are prescribed for each day. The holy scriptures describe the first coming of Jesus, as the savior, and his Second Coming, as a judge.

Color Of Advent
Considered to be the liturgical colors in Western Christianity, only blue and purple are considered to be the colors of Advent. That's why purple is often used on hangings used around the church or the garments of the clergy. On the Gaudete Sunday, which is the third Sunday of Advent, rose colour may be used to replace purple. In some other traditions, blue, denoting hopefulness and often referred to as 'Sarum blue', is also used.

Advent Wreath
During Advent, you may not find flower decorations in the church. Rather, it is customary for churches to have an Advent crown or an Advent Wreath made from a set of evergreen plants like holly and ivy. This is used to signify that God can neither be created nor destroyed and the 'evergreen' element denotes that God cannot be changed either. The holly signifies the symbol of crown of thorns, which Jesus wore when he was being crucified.

Candles of various colors such as purple, pink and white are lit on this occasion. Each candle exudes certain expression on the Christmas Day. The first candle denotes hope; the second one signifies God's Peace. The third stands for love, fourth one for joy and the fifth reminds the Christians of the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day.

Advent is significant in western cultures as it marks the beginning of the Christian New Year. The liturgical year that begins on the Advent Sunday is known as Levavi.