Festival facts: Advent

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By Louise Tellamteacher and freelance writer

Discover the true meaning of Advent and why it is an important part of Christmas

Advent

What is Advent?

The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’, which means ‘to arrive’. In the Christian Church, this term refers to the time of year spent in preparation for the ‘coming’ of Jesus at Christmas. It is the beginning of the Church’s year and this period of expectation starts on the Sunday nearest to 30 November (3 December 2006) and continues until Christmas Eve (24 December 2006). Liturgical and personal rituals guide believers through reflection upon the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, the visitation of angels to Mary, Zechariah, Elizabeth and Joseph, the birth of John the Baptist and the preparations for the birth of Jesus. For Christians this is the essential context for the full celebration of Christmas.

Why is Advent celebrated?

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