Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Advent Calendars

Each day from now until Christmas Day one article will be devoted to a subject connected to Christmas. Today we take a look at Advent Calendars.


An Advent calendar is a special calendar which is used to count or celebrate the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. Some calendars are strictly religious, whereas others are secular in content.
Today, most advent calendars are made for children. Many take the form of a large rectangular card with many "windows", one of which is opened every day during Advent. In less elaborate calendars, each window opens to reveal an image, a poem, or part of a story such as the Nativity story itself. More elaborate Advent calendars have a small gift concealed in each window, such as a toy or a chocolate item.

The origins of the Advent calendar come from German Lutherans who, at least as early as the beginning of the 19th century, would count down the 24 days of Advent physically. Often this meant simply drawing a chalk line on the door each day, beginning on December 1. Some families had more elaborate means of marking the days, such as lighting a new candle (perhaps the genesis of today's Advent wreath) or hanging a little religious picture on the wall each day.
The 24 candles might also be placed on a structure, which
was known as an "Advent clock". In December 1839, the first verifiable public Advent wreath was hung in the prayer hall of the Rauhes Haus (relief house) in Hamburg, although it had been a family practice in parts of German-speaking Europe since the 17th century.
The first known Advent calendar was handmade in 1851. According to the Austrian (NO) Landesmuseum, the first printed Advent calendar was produced in Hamburg in 1902 or 1903. Other authorities state that a Swabian parishioner, Gerhard Lang, was responsible for the first printed calendar, in 1908.
Lang was certainly the progenitor of today's calendar. He was a printer
in the firm Reichhold & Lang of Munich who, in 1908, made 24 little colored pictures that could be affixed to a piece of cardboard. Several years later, he introduced a calendar with 24 little doors. He created and marketed at least 30 designs before his firm went out of business in the 1930s. In this same time period, Sankt Johannis Printing Company started producing religious Advent calendars, with Bible verses instead of pictures behind the doors.
The practice disappeared during World War II, apparently to save paper. After the war, Richard Sellmer of Stuttgart resurrected the commercial Advent calendar and is responsible for its widespread popularity. His company, Richard Sellmer Verlag, today maintains a stock of over 1,000,000 calendars worldwide. Other companies such as Cadbury's who specialise in the making of calendars have similar stocks, if not higher.
Hand made Advent calendars have become popular projects with craftpersons and artisans of all types. Today, we see hand made creations made from various media—including fabric, felt, paper, chipboard, small boxes, etc.
The concept of the Advent Calendar has recently broadened to include "Countdown Calendars". These are calendars suitable for persons from all faiths, and can be used to count down to any event imaginable—birthdays, Easter, Halloween, graduation, last day of school, retirement, etc.


December is the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31.
In Latin, decem means "ten". December was also the tenth month in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period was divided between January and February.
December's flower is the narcissus or holly. December's birthstones are turquoise, laois lazuli, zircon, topaz (blue), or tanzanite.
December is the month with the shortest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest daylight hours of the year in the Southern Hemisphere.
December starts on the same day of the week as September.

Events in December

World AIDS Day (December 1)
Nobel Prizes awarded (December 10) on the anniversary of Albert Nobel's death.
Human Rights Day (December 10)
Solstice (called the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere occurs on dates varying from December20 to December 22.
The Emperor's Birthday, a national holiday in Japan (December 23)
Christmas Eve (December 24)
Christmas Day (December 25)
Boxing Day (December 26)
New Year's Eve (December 31)

December's birthstone is turquoise (Left)

December's flower is holly (Right)

Who Am I? - Monday's Answer

Who Am I?
Monday's Answer
Alesha Dixon

British Post Cards

Funny Signs