The word Advent is from the Latin adventus
for "coming" and is associated with the four weeks of preparation for Christmas.
Advent always contains four Sundays, beginning on the Sunday nearest the feast of St.
Andrew the Apostle, (November 30) and continuing until December 24. It blends together a
penitential spirit, very similar to Lent, a liturgical theme of preparation for the Second
and Final Coming of the Lord, called the Parousia, and a joyful theme of getting ready for
the Bethlehem event.
Since the 900s Advent has been considered the beginning of the Church year. This does
not mean that Advent is the most important time of the year. Easter has always had this
The traditional color of Advent is purple or violet which symbolizes the penitential
spirit. Religious traditions associated with Advent express all these themes.