Advent (Christian)

Advent (Christian): November 27th– December 24th, 2016


In an effort to create more awareness about world faiths and philosophies, the Office of Internal Affairs and International Initiatives would like to notify campus community members about important holidays celebrated within several world religions.  This message relates to Advent which is observed on November 27th– December 24th this year.

Advent is a Christian season that comes before Christmas, starting on the fourth Sunday before December 25th.  The word Advent comes from the Latin word advenio, “to come to,” and refers to the coming of Christ.  Advent is primarily observed in Christian churches that follow an ecclesiastical calendar of liturgical seasons to determine feasts, memorials, fasts and holy days:  Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian. However, some Protestant and Evangelical Christians may also observe the season.

Advent extends over four Sundays and is a season where Christians prepare for Christmas, the coming of Christ and prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah.  During Advent, Christians are also reminded of how much they also need a Savior, and look forward to his second coming even as they prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas.

Advent is usually marked by increased prayer, fasting, and good works. While the Western Church no longer has a set requirement for fasting during Advent, the Eastern Church, both Catholic and Orthodox, continues to observe what is known as Philip’s Fast, from November 15 until Christmas.  The four Sundays of advent are often celebrated with four candles on an Advent Wreath, with one to be lit each Sunday. The first, second and fourth candles are traditionally purple, but the third candle is rose-colored.  (The rose colored candle marks the passing of the midpoint of Advent, encouraging believers to continue in spiritual preparation as the Christmas nears). The fifth white candle is often lit on Christmas day in the center of the Advent wreath. Other traditions used to celebrate Advent include Advent calendars, wreaths and nativity scenes.

*This information was drawn directly from a variety of sources:           

Prairie View A&M University acknowledges and embraces the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff. Due to the great number and diversity of viewpoints, this resource is not able to provide an exhaustive list of significant dates for all faith and philosophical traditions. Likewise, the practice of special dates may differ based on region, denomination or generational differences.