- History & Culture
What is Advent—and why do we mark it with treat-filled calendars?
The holiday, which gets its name from the Latin word for arrival, serves as a countdown to Christmas when Christians honor the birth of Jesus Christ.
During the darkest days of winter, Christians prepare for one of their religion’s most important holidays during the season of Advent. Lasting roughly four weeks, it’s a season of candlelight, reflection, and expectation—a chance to get ready for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The season’s dates vary from year to year. In 2022, Advent begins on Sunday, November 27, and ends on Saturday, December 24.
Advent gets its name from adventus, the Latin word for “arrival.” As the Christian church solidified in the fifth century A.D., so did traditions around December 25. Historians have tracked the first formal Advent celebrations to northern Italy, where churchgoers observed a weeks-long preparation for Christmas that involved fasting, prayer,