Advent (Christmas Lent, Little Lent, St. Philip’s Fast, Winter Lent)
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.” The Advent season serves as a period of spiritual preparation for the coming of Christmas. Advent calls Christians to reflect on both the birth of Jesus and on the Second Coming of Christ. In Western Christianity Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30, St. Andrew’s Day, and lasts till December 24, thereby extending over a period of 22 to 28 days. In the Orthodox Church Advent begins on November 15.
The Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions view Advent as the beginning of the Church year. The liturgical color for Advent is purple, reflecting the repentant mood characteristic of early Church Advent observances. By contrast, many popular customs associated with this period joyfully anticipate the coming of Christmas.