Traditions: The history of advent calendars

Traditions: The history of advent calendars

by Village England luxury leather hand bags


While Advent is today symbolised by chocolate-filled calendars, its rich history actually stretches back more than 1600 years. Much like Lent, Christians used to fast and pray during Advent to prepare for the ‘Christ-mass.’ But the timing of Advent was not routine until after Roman Emperor Constantine commemorated December 25 as Christ’s birthday during the fourth century.

Early styles of advent calendars were the German Adventclock or the Adventcandle - a candle for each of the 24 days until Christmas, like today’s Advent wreath. In 1908, a printer called Gerhard Lang came up with the idea of hiding illustrations behind little cardboard doors, and the printed calendar was born - keeping children and adults alike fascinated for the whole month.

By the start of the Second World War, the tradition of card advent calendars was well established in Germany, and after a temporary break due to cardboard shortages they were welcomed back after the war. The most popular calendars were produced by Richard Sellmer of Stuttgart (whose company still stocks a wide range of beautiful calendars today), and quickly spread across the globe especially in the UK and the USA, where they were championed by president Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Today’s advent calendars are more extravagant than ever, filled with everything from gin and whisky to makeup, candles and exotic teas.

But for us, chocolate is the only way to count down to Christmas.     

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