The advent calendar has risen from obscurity into a popular tradition during the yuletide season. Its history is based on a tradition that has stood firm for hundreds of years. The current version of the Advent calendar got traction around the 19th century.
Today, the advent calendar is a symbol of the coming of Christ and has become a mainstay for Christians across the world. The word Advent is derived from the Latin term ‘adventus’ which connotes the period around the birth of Christ.
It is just as significant as Lent, Easter, and Pentecost in the church calendar, which goes back more than a Millennium. The season of Advent starts from the fourth Sunday before Christmas and is also the time that we start to look forward to the symbolic birth of Christ.
Advent is the season of sharing love and reflection. Today, there are many variations of this calendar including whiskey and wine advent calendar where people share non-alcoholic treats in commemoration of the Christmas season.
This contemporary tradition can be traced back to German families who implemented a method of counting down Christmas by writing lines on the walls. Other methods of this tradition included lighting a candle as well as putting up a sacramental picture every day until Christmas eve.
Paper calendars during the advent season became popular through Gerhard Lang, who is known as the first person to design paper advent calendars. It was his idea to insert Bible verses behind each door. Almost a century later, you can find wine gifts enhancing the vibes of the season just like the lovely wine advent calendar.
In the United States, Advent Calendars became a pillar of the American Christmas tradition when President Eisenhower was photographed opening one of these paper calendars alongside his grandchildren during the 1950s.
At that time, advent calendars were filled with small gifts like toys and candies. However, the popularity of these calendars has crossed over religious lines.
Today there are a huge collection of Advent calendars even outside the religious tradition. You can find them being used for marketing products, which include wines, chocolates, toys, beauty items, and perfumes.
More companies are getting creative with the advent calendars. You can find advent calendars for pets with lovely treats hidden inside.
The world’s largest advent calendar was designed back in 2007 and was built in celebration of the renovation of the St. Pancras Train Station. It stood at 71m in height with a width of 23m.
Other Guinness world records relating to advent calendars include the most expensive advent calendar ever made. Created by Belgian jewelers, it consisted of 24 tubes encrusted with silver and diamonds. The calendar was worth an astonishing $3.3 million.
Apart from advent calendars, we have advent candles which serve the purpose. Advent candles consist of 24 miniature candles which are used to Christmas day countdown. Advent crowns are another variation of the candles.
The crown consists of five candles surrounded by a wreath with four candles placed around the one in the center. A candle is lit on a Sunday marking the beginning of the Advent season, then two on the next Sunday. This is done progressively until Christmas eve.
Advent calendars are here to stay together with LEGO and the Hubble Space Telescope expanding the frontiers of this beautiful tradition.