There are many types of calendars used in different countries. The most common ones in the UK are made of paper or card with 24 or 25 little windows on. A window is opened on every day in December and a Christmas picture is displayed underneath. When they were first made, scenes from the Christmas Story and other Christmas images were used, such as snowmen and robins, but now many calendars are made in the themes of toys, television programmes and sports clubs. The first record of an Advent calendar, in the UK, was in 1956.
The first calendar with chocolate in it was made in 1958, and in the UK Cadbury's made their first chocolate calendar in 1971. However, they didn't sell very many to start with. Chocolate calendars really only became popular in the 1980s.
There are also now all different types of Advent Calendars used to sell and promote different products including chocolate, perfumes, alcohol and beauty products. You can even get advent calendars for your pets with dog or cat treats in them!
And, of course, this page is part of our own digital Advent Calendar as we benefit from the breadth of knowledge on the internet!
Candles are also used to count down to Christmas Day in Advent. Some look like normal candles but have the days up to Christmas Day marked down the front. On the first of December, the candle is lit and burnt down to the first line on the candle. The same is done every day and then the rest of the candle is burnt on Christmas day.
Another type of Advent candle is an Advent wreath to lay on your table. An Advent wreath typically consists of greenery with four beeswax candles, three purple and one pink. Each candle on the Advent Wreath has a specific meaning:
Candle one represents hope. It is often called the prophets’ candle.
Candle two represents joy. It is often called the shepherds’ candle.
Candle three represents represents peace. It is often called the angels’ candle.
Candle four represents love. It is often called the Bethlehem candle.
If you've been following our Church Liturgy this year you'll know that there are other possibilities:
Candle One remembers the People of God
Candle Two remembers the Prophets
Candle Three remembers John the Baptist
Candle Four remembers Mary
Many Advent wreaths also include a Christ candle in the middle of the wreath. To celebrate with an Advent wreath, you light a candle on each Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday, you light candle one; the second Sunday you light candles one and two, etc.