Advent is probably my favorite time within the Christian liturgical (church) year. The liturgical calendar consists of various seasons in which we celebrate special feast days. Advent marks the new year for many Christian communities and it begins today- ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
The word Advent is derived from the Latin word advenire which means to arrive at or come to and encompasses the four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. It is a time we dedicate to preparing for the birth of Jesus. During this season we usually see the use of the color purple at Church (representing prayer, penance, good works) and it is worn by the priest and displayed in the advent wreath.
The advent wreath is typically made up of evergreen branches and includes four candles (3 purple and one rose) that represent the four weeks of anticipated wait for the birth of Christ. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday which is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means rejoice and represents the joy and anticipation we feel in the coming birth of Jesus. We are closer to Christmas!
7 ways to celebrate el Adviento
- Celebrate the New Year on Sunday, November 28th– Since Advent marks the start of a new liturgical year, you can attend church and pay attention to the readings as we are move into a new cycle. The Liturgical calendar has three cycles- A, B, and C. This year marks cycle C which is built around the readings from the Gospel of Luke.
- Display an Advent wreath in your casa– You can create your own Advent wreath with a round wreath (fresh or plastic. I recommend fresh as it is better for the environment), 4 candles (3 purple and one rose) and a candle holder. Then light the candles each Domingo.
- Purchase an Advent Calendar- An Advent Calendar is a great activity to carry out with your familia. You can purchase either a felt one you re-use each year or you can also purchase ones with the yummy chocolate surprises that reveal portions of the Christmas story. I recommend Divine Chocolates Advent Calendar as they are Fair Trade.
- Be Patient- Since Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation, practice being patient as you wait for the light to turn green in your car or are in line at the grocery store. Try being more patient with your familia, coworkers, or that person that drives you loca.
- Display your Nacimiento– Don’t forget to display a nativity scene in your home. Our family places all the figures in the nacimiento at the start of Advent, except for baby Jesus. He is placed in the nacimiento at midnight on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena).
- Participate in Posadas– During the Advent season there may be opportunities to celebrate posadas in your comunidad. Las Posadas are special celebrations that commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge for Mary to give birth. Join a party or host one!
- Wear Purple– During the Advent season you can show your unique liturgical style by wearing purple. I have several sweaters I love to wear during this special season.
Advent is a wonderful season of many tradiciones that prepare us for the celebration of Christmas. Do you have any special Advent tradiciones?
Dr. Patty Jiménez is the Founder of Recetas. She obtained 2 Masters in Theology and Ministry and a Doctorate in Ministry specializing in Latinx theology and ministry. She has over 27 years experience in Catholic Ministry and is a spiritual director and training as a wellness coach.