What Does the Advent Calendar Symbolize: Exploring the Significance behind this Christmas Tradition

As the holiday season draws near, you may have come across a common yet intriguing item called the advent calendar. This small gift of sorts has become synonymous with Christmas time in many households. But what exactly does the advent calendar symbolize and what is its significance?

Traditionally, advent calendars are used to count down the days leading up to Christmas. Each day, a door or window on the calendar is opened to reveal a holiday surprise. This practice began in the early 19th century in Germany, primarily in Protestant households, as a way to mark the anticipation and preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ.

But the advent calendar has evolved over time to reflect both secular and religious customs and beliefs. Nowadays, you can find advent calendars with a wide variety of themes ranging from chocolate and beauty products to Bible verses and charitable donations. Despite the differences, at its core, the advent calendar still represents the hope and expectation that comes with the holiday season.

History of Advent Calendars

The Advent calendar is a tradition that has been around for more than 150 years. The first Advent calendar was created in the early 19th century by German Lutherans who would mark the days of Advent by lighting candles or making a chalk line on their doors. The first printed Advent calendars appeared in Germany, in the late 19th century, and were produced by German printers who used their lithography presses to create the colorful images that appeared on the calendars.

By the early 20th century, Advent calendars had become a popular holiday tradition in Germany, and soon spread to other European countries. During WWII, American soldiers stationed in Germany brought the tradition back to the United States, where it quickly became popular, and has remained so to this day.

  • The first Advent calendars were created by German Lutherans who marked the days of Advent with candles or chalk
  • The first printed Advent calendars appeared in Germany in the late 19th century
  • By the early 20th century, Advent calendars had become popular across Europe

Origin of Advent Calendars

The Advent Calendar is a tradition that most people link to the Christian religion. It marks the start of the Advent season, which begins on the fourth Sunday preceding Christmas Day, and it counts down the days until Christmas. The Advent season was originally practiced as a time of fasting and penance, but over time, it became a time of joyful preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. The Advent Calendar is a visual representation of this preparation, and it helps us to focus on the spiritual meaning of Christmas.

  • The first Advent Calendar is said to have been created in the early 19th century by German Lutherans.
  • The Advent Calendar used candles as a way of counting down the days until Christmas.
  • The first printed Advent Calendar was produced in 1908 by Gerhard Lang.

The original Advent Calendar featured 24 tiny pictures that were either pasted or painted onto a cardboard background. Each day from December 1st until Christmas Eve, children would open a small door or window on the calendar to find a picture or sometimes even a treat inside. The concept behind it was to help children count the days until Christmas, and also to encourage them to engage in acts of kindness and charity during the Advent season.

Today, Advent Calendars come in various forms, from the traditional cardboard calendars to more elaborate calendars made of fabric, wood, or even chocolate. They are still counted down each day from December 1st until Christmas Eve and usually feature an image or a piece of chocolate behind each door or window. Advent Calendars are a fun and creative way to help children and adults alike remember the true meaning of Christmas and to prepare their hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus Christ.

Year Event
1800s Advent Calendars begin to be used with candles
1908 Gerhard Lang creates the first printed Advent Calendar
1960s Chocolate Advent Calendars are introduced

The Advent Calendar has come a long way since its early beginnings as a simple cardboard calendar. Today, it continues to be a popular way for families and communities around the world to celebrate the Advent season and to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. Whether it’s a traditional calendar or more innovative, it is a fun and meaningful way to count down the days until Christmas.

Importance of Advent Season

The Advent season is a special time of the year that is usually observed in the Christian calendar. It is made up of the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas day. During this time, Christians celebrate the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ, and reflect on the significance of his coming into the world. Advent is usually symbolized by the use of an advent calendar, which is a countdown to Christmas that helps individuals to prepare their hearts and minds for this special day.

  • Anticipation: One of the key things that the Advent season symbolizes is anticipation. Just like a child who is eagerly waiting for Christmas Day to arrive, Christians who observe advent use this time to look forward to the celebration of the birth of Jesus. This anticipation is usually marked by the lighting of candles on an Advent wreath.
  • Preparation: Another symbol of the Advent season is preparation. It is a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of the Lord. This preparation usually involves introspection and reflection, as individuals think about the significance of Christ’s coming into the world.
  • Hope: Advent is also a time of hope. Christians believe that Christ’s coming into the world brought hope to a world that was lost in sin and darkness. This hope is usually symbolized by the lighting of the third candle on the Advent wreath, which is known as the candle of hope.

The Advent Calendar

The Advent calendar is a popular way of counting down to Christmas. It is usually made up of a calendar with small doors or windows that are opened each day to reveal a surprise. The surprise can be in the form of a scripture reading, a chocolate treat, or a small gift. The Advent calendar serves as a daily reminder of the importance of the Advent season, and helps individuals to prepare their hearts and minds for Christmas Day.

Date Advent Calendar Item
December 1st Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-38
December 8th Chocolate Santa Claus
December 15th Small Gift: Christmas ornament
December 22nd Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7

The Advent calendar is a fun and engaging way to observe the Advent season, and to keep the focus on Christ during the busy holiday season. By using an Advent calendar, individuals can be reminded of the anticipation, preparation, and hope that the Advent season represents.

Religious Significance of Advent

Advent is a period of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It encompasses the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day and is an essential part of the Christian calendar. Advent has significant religious symbolism that is rich in meaning and tradition.

  • Hope: The first candle on the Advent wreath symbolizes hope. It represents the expectation of the coming of the Messiah and the hope of salvation that he brings.
  • Peace: The second candle symbolizes peace and is lit on the second Sunday of Advent. It reminds us of the tranquility that Christ brings to the world and our hearts.
  • Joy: The third candle symbolizes joy and is lit on the third Sunday of Advent. It represents the happiness and delight that comes with the birth of Jesus.
  • Love: The fourth and final candle symbolizes love and is lit on the fourth Sunday. It represents the unconditional love that Christ has for us, which is the reason for his coming to the world.

The number four has significant religious symbolism in the Advent season. According to Christian tradition, it represents the four weeks of Advent, the four Gospels, and the four virtues of Christianity: faith, hope, love, and peace. These virtues are represented in the Advent candles and are central to the message of the season.

In addition, the Advent calendar also has religious significance. It is a visual representation of the countdown to Christmas and is used to mark the passing of each day of Advent. The calendar often contains small gifts or treats, which can symbolize the blessings and gifts that Jesus brings to the world.

Week of Advent Symbolism Candle Color
First Week Hope Purple
Second Week Peace Purple
Third Week Joy Pink
Fourth Week Love Purple

Overall, the religious significance of Advent is rich in meaning and tradition. It is a time of hope, peace, joy, and love, and a reminder of the significance of Christ’s coming to the world. The Advent season helps Christians to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and prepare their hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Secular Significance of Advent

Advent is a significant time of preparation and anticipation of Christmas, not just in the religious context, but also in the secular world. The four-week period leading up to Christmas is often marked by a variety of traditions, customs, and celebrations that reflect the secular significance of Advent. Here are five subtopics that will help us understand the secular significance of Advent:

  • The Advent calendar
  • Gift-giving
  • Decorations and lights
  • Music and carols
  • Food and feasting

Let’s delve deeper into each of these subtopics to learn more about their significance in the secular celebration of Advent.

The Advent calendar

The Advent calendar is an iconic part of the secular celebration of Advent. It is a special calendar that counts down the days until Christmas, typically starting on December 1st. Each day of the Advent calendar has a little door that can be opened to reveal a small gift, such as a piece of candy or a trinket. The Advent calendar is a fun and interactive way to build excitement and anticipation for Christmas.


Gift-giving is another important part of the secular celebration of Advent. It is a way to show our loved ones that they are valued and appreciated. Many people exchange gifts during Advent as a way to spread joy and goodwill. Gift-giving can also be a way to teach children about generosity and kindness.

Decorations and lights

Decorations and lights are a key part of the secular celebration of Advent. They provide a festive and cheerful atmosphere, and they help to create a sense of anticipation and excitement. Common decorations include wreaths, garlands, and Christmas trees, while lights are often hung outside homes and businesses to create a beautiful and welcoming ambiance.

Music and carols

Music and carols are an essential part of the secular celebration of Advent. They help to set the mood for the season and create a sense of joy and warmth. Many people enjoy listening to traditional Christmas songs, while others prefer to sing carols with friends and family. Music and carols bring people together and create a sense of community.

Food and feasting

Food Feasting
Traditional Christmas foods such as turkey, ham, and stuffing Big family meals and gatherings
Baked goods such as cookies and cakes Special treats and delicacies

Finally, food and feasting are an important part of the secular celebration of Advent. It is a time when people come together to share meals and create cherished memories. Many people enjoy traditional Christmas foods such as turkey, ham, and stuffing, while others prefer to indulge in baked goods like cookies and cakes. Feasting during Advent is a time to indulge and enjoy the company of loved ones.

In conclusion, the secular celebration of Advent is an important and cherished part of the holiday season. By celebrating through the Advent calendar, gift-giving, decorations and lights, music and carols, and feasting, we create a festive and joyous atmosphere that is filled with hope and anticipation.

Evolution of Advent Calendar Design

The first advent calendar was created in Germany in the mid-19th century, and its design has evolved over the decades. From the basic cardboard design to high-tech digital versions, there are now endless ways to enjoy the anticipation of Christmas with an advent calendar.

The Number 6

  • The number 6 represents the sixth day of creation, when God created the animals on Earth. This is significant because Christmas is believed to be the day when Jesus, who is often referred to as the Lamb of God, was born. Therefore, the animals in the nativity scene are a key part of the Christmas story.
  • Additionally, some religious traditions believe that the world was created in six days, with the seventh day being a day of rest. This is also symbolic during advent, as it represents the anticipation of the arrival of Jesus and the coming of a new world order.
  • Finally, the number 6 is often associated with family and harmony. This is fitting during the holiday season, as many families come together to celebrate Christmas and enjoy each other’s company.

In the design of advent calendars, the number 6 is often used to represent the sixth day of December, which is when many advent calendars begin. Some advent calendars have flaps or doors for each day that are numbered in sequence up to 25, while others are designed in a more creative way, such as having different pockets or drawers for each day.

The use of modern technology has also led to the creation of digital advent calendars, which can be accessed online or through mobile apps. These digital advent calendars often incorporate games, puzzles, or other interactive features for a unique and engaging experience.

Time Period Advent Calendar Design
1800s Basic cardboard designs with windows or doors
1900s Advent calendars with religious scenes or biblical verses
2000s Modern designs using various materials such as wood, fabric, or recycled materials. Technology-led digital advent calendars

Overall, the evolution of advent calendar design shows how a simple tradition created over a century ago has evolved into a much-loved holiday tradition. The number 6, with its religious and symbolic significance, plays an important role in the design and concept of advent calendars as we know them today.

Advent Calendar Traditions Around the World

The Advent Calendar is a beloved holiday tradition celebrated by Christians around the world. It is a way to mark the countdown to Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The Advent Calendar has become a symbol of hope and anticipation, and it’s traditions differ in every country where it is celebrated.

The Number 7 Subsection

The number seven holds a significant meaning in many cultures and religions around the world. In Christianity, it symbolizes perfection and completeness, as the Lord created the world in seven days. The number seven is also important in Judaism, where it represents the seven days of creation. It is considered a lucky number in many cultures, and features prominently in many Advent Calendar traditions.

  • In Germany, the Advent Calendar often has 24 pockets, with the number seven being a special day. On this day, small gifts or treats such as chocolate or candy are often hidden behind the seventh pocket.
  • In Denmark, the Advent Calendar often has seven candles, each representing a week before Christmas. A candle is lit every Sunday for seven weeks.
  • In Sweden, the Advent Calendar often features a special “Lucia” crown with seven candles, worn by a young girl during the procession on December 13th, which marks the beginning of their Christmas season.

In addition to these traditions, the number seven is often found in Christmas songs, such as “The Twelve Days of Christmas” where the seventh day is represented by seven swans a-swimming. In some countries, Christmas Eve is celebrated with a big meal consisting of seven or more courses.

Country Tradition
Germany Advent Calendars often have 24 pockets, with a surprise hidden behind the seventh one.
Denmark Advent Calendars often have seven candles, one for each week before Christmas.
Sweden Advent Calendars often feature a special “Lucia” crown with seven candles, worn by a young girl during the procession on December 13th.

No matter how it is celebrated, the Advent Calendar remains a cherished holiday tradition, helping to bring joy and excitement to people around the world during the Christmas season.

Types of Advent Calendars

Advent calendars are a tradition that originates from Germany, believed to date back to the 19th century. While the purpose of an Advent calendar is to counts down the days until Christmas, the idea behind it goes much deeper than just a simple countdown. Advent calendars have grown in popularity over the years, and today there are many different types of Advent calendars. Below are some of the most popular types of Advent calendars:

  • Traditional Advent Calendar: The traditional Advent calendar comes in the form of a cardboard or paper box with windows that are opened each day. The windows usually contain images or small surprises.
  • Candle Advent Calendar: This Advent calendar consists of four candles, one to be lit each Sunday before Christmas. Each day, the candle is lit, and a prayer or reading is said in anticipation of Christmas.
  • Chocolate Advent Calendar: The chocolate Advent calendar is one of the newest and most popular versions. Each window contains a piece of chocolate, and the countdown is one of anticipation for the daily chocolate treat.

While there are many types of Advent calendars, the underlying message is the same: the anticipation and joy for the coming of Christmas day. These calendars are often given as gifts, adding to the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season.

The Number 8 in Advent Calendars

One of the lesser-known aspects of Advent calendars is the symbolic meaning behind the number 8. The number 8 represents new beginnings and regeneration in Christianity. This symbolism is connected to the idea of the week, which consists of seven days, and then the following day, which is a new beginning – the eighth day.

In terms of the Advent calendar countdown, the eighth day typically falls on December 8th. This day is significant because it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is a holy day of obligation for Catholics. This day celebrates the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was conceived without sin. The number 8, therefore, represents the start of a new liturgical season and the start of a new chapter in the countdown to Christmas.

Date Symbolic Meaning
December 8th New beginnings, the start of a new liturgical season

While the number 8 may seem like a minor detail in the Advent calendar tradition, it holds significant meaning in the Christian faith and adds to the anticipation and excitement of the countdown to Christmas day.

Commercialization of Advent Calendars

Advent calendars, originally designed to help children count down the days to Christmas, have become massively commercialized in recent times. Companies have realized the huge demand for these calendars, leading to a focus on profit rather than the spiritual significance behind this tradition.

One alarming trend is the sheer number of advent calendars available for purchase. In the past, the only options were traditional cardboard calendars with simple, festive illustrations. However, now there are chocolate, makeup, toy, and even alcohol-filled calendars available. This increase in variety has led to a flood of cheap, low-quality products in the market that fail to represent the real meaning of Christmas.

The Number 9: A Far Cry from Traditional

  • One popular commercial advent calendar brand features 24 individually-wrapped toys – one for each day of advent. Conveniently, these toys are also available for purchase through the company’s website, proving that the calendar is nothing more than a marketing sham.
  • Another brand offers a gin-filled advent calendar that features nine full-sized bottles of gin, along with a selection of gin-related products. It’s a far cry from traditional advent calendars and represents the commercialization of what was once a sacred tradition.
  • The same brand also offers a beer-filled advent calendar, with nine bottles of beer and a range of beer accessories. Again, this is a far cry from the religious significance of advent and represents a worrying trend in the commercialization of Christmas.

These examples illustrate the extent of the commercialization of advent calendars. Instead of focusing on the spiritual aspect of the holiday season, retailers are more interested in making a profit, even if that means offering cheap, low-quality products that have nothing to do with Christmas. When choosing an advent calendar, it is essential to remain mindful of these commercial trends and prioritize the religious significance behind this tradition.

Pros Cons
Increased variety of advent calendars Low-quality products flood the market
Increased profit for companies Lack of focus on the spiritual significance of advent
Convenient marketing opportunity Focus on materialism over spirituality

Overall, it is important to be aware of the commercialization of advent calendars while also recognizing their potential advantages. When used correctly, advent calendars can help children and adults alike focus on the spiritual aspects of the holiday season. However, it is crucial to avoid the temptation to prioritize materialism over spirituality, something that has become all too common in today’s consumer culture.

DIY Advent Calendars

While it can be easy to purchase pre-made advent calendars from the store, DIY advent calendars add a personal touch to the holiday season. Here are some ideas for creating your own advent calendar:

  • Numbered envelopes: Use small envelopes with numbers on them to hold treats or small gifts. Hang them on a string or attach them to a bulletin board.
  • Clothespin calendar: Use clothespins and small bags or envelopes to hold treats or gifts. Clip them onto a board or string.
  • Upcycled boxes: Turn old egg cartons, matchboxes, or other small containers into numbered advent boxes. Fill them with treats or small gifts.

Whatever method you choose, be sure to personalize it with decorations and festive touches that match your home decor style.

If you’re feeling extra creative, consider creating a DIY advent calendar using a table. Here’s an example of how to make an advent calendar table:

Day Gift/Activity
December 1st Write a letter to Santa
December 2nd Make hot chocolate with marshmallows
December 3rd Create DIY ornaments
December 4th Watch a holiday movie
December 5th Bake holiday cookies
December 6th Make paper snowflakes
December 7th Visit a local holiday market
December 8th Build a snowman
December 9th Write holiday cards for friends and family
December 10th Make a donation to a local charity

Creating a DIY advent calendar is a great way to make the holiday season more festive and personal. Get creative and have fun with it!

FAQs: What Does the Advent Calendar Symbolize?

1. What is the origin of the advent calendar?

The advent calendar originated in Germany in the 19th century. At that time, children used to mark the days before Christmas by drawing chalk lines to count down to the holiday.

2. What is the meaning of the word “advent”?

The word “advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming.” In the Christian tradition, it refers to the anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ.

3. What is the significance of the advent wreath?

The advent wreath is a symbol of the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It is made of four candles, with one candle lit each week to represent hope, love, joy, and peace.

4. How does the advent calendar relate to the Christmas story?

The advent calendar is a way to count down the days until Christmas and prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Each day, a new door or window is opened to reveal a small gift, scripture reading, or piece of chocolate.

5. Is the advent calendar only used by Christians?

No, the advent calendar is a widely recognized tradition that is celebrated by people of many different faiths and cultures.

6. What is the significance of the number 24 in the advent calendar?

The number 24 represents the day of December 24th, which is Christmas Eve. The final door on the advent calendar is opened on this day.

7. Are there different types of advent calendars?

Yes, advent calendars can come in many different forms. Some are traditional with doors that are opened to reveal a small gift or image. Others may be digital or interactive, including apps or online calendars.

Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article has helped you better understand the symbolism behind the advent calendar. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the advent calendar can be a fun and meaningful way to count down to the holiday season. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to visit us again later for more informative articles!