The name of this period comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “arrival.” It concerns the period of the arrival or birth of Jesus Christ, who is perceived as the Saviour or Messiah. The Advent period lasts four weeks and is a time of fasting, when old Bohemian Advent matins are sung at morning masses. After each Sunday of Advent it is a tradition to gradually light one candle on the Advent wreath as a symbol of the coming Christmas. Advent wreath is usually made of four green garlands.


It culminates in Christmas, the annual Christian feast in memory of the birth of Jesus Christ. This actually replaced the pre-Christian winter solstice festival. December 25 is the feast of the Nativity (Christmas Day), which is preceded by Christmas Eve. The following feast days also pertain to Christmas: the feast of St. Stephen (December 26), the Sunday feast of the Holy Family, the feast of the Holy Innocents (December 28, a commemoration of the children massacred by Herod), the Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God (January 1, New Year’s Day), the feast of the Epiphany (January 6) with its reference to the arrival in Bethlehem of wise men from the east (the Three Kings), and the feast of the Baptism of Christ the following Sunday, which brings Christmas to a close.

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