Advent is the time to share the joy of Christ’s coming with all who will listen. From the color for the season to a Jesse Tree, check out these 11 facts to know about this time of year.

  1. Advent is from the Latin “Adventus,” which means “coming.”

  2. It is the beginning of a new liturgical year and begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas until the Nativity of our Lord is celebrated.

  3. The first known mention of Advent is found in the “History of the Franks,” which says that in the year 480 St Perpetuus ordered a fast three times per week in the weeks before Christmas.

  4. Though it is not clear exactly when the liturgical season was established, a collection of homilies from Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) included a sermon from the second Sunday of Advent. 

  5. The Liturgical color for the season is deep purple.

  6. The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, which takes its common name from the Latin word “Gaudete” that means “Rejoice”, and the priest may wear a rose vestment.

  7. Advent has a theme of prayerful, spiritual preparation for the second and final coming of the Lord, as well as the joyful preparation for the annual festive remembrance of the Incarnation and Christ’s birth.

  8. The Advent wreath is the most popular tradition of the season, and is typically present within both the parish and the home. It is often circular, representing God’s eternity, and it includes 4 candles – one for each Sunday.

  9. A fifth candle is lit on Christmas Day and represents Jesus, the light of the world.

  10. A Jesse Tree is also a tradition associated with Advent and is named for the father of David. It is a tree that is decorated gradually throughout Advent with symbols or pictures of biblical persons associated with the gradual coming of the Messiah, Christ, including Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Mary.

  11. During Advent, the faithful are asked to prepare themselves worthy to celebrate the Lord’s coming into the world as the incarnate of God of love; and to make themselves ready for His final coming.

Read these eight actions to keep in mind for Advent.