By Judy Benson - 27th November 2012 7:03am
Advent was traditionally the beginning of the Christmas season in Britain. It begins four Sundays before Christmas. Advent calendars are used to countdown to Christmas Day.
The traditional Advent calendar is a poster, or card, with twenty four small doors, one to be opened each day from the 1st December to the 24th December.
Every morning a door is opened and a picture revealed, normally with a religious significance or similar connection with the Christmas festival, such as a particular food, or gift.
In latter years these pictures, which were intended to be reminders of the coming of Christ, have commonly given way to small chocolates or gifts.
Before Advent calendars were produced, religious families would mark the countdown to Christmas simply by marking a chalk line on a wall, or door.
There are also records of 24 candles being arranged in a clock formation and being lit (an Advent clock) - this is commonly thought to be the forerunner of the Christmas wreath.
Handmade Advent calendars first appeared in central Europe in the mid 19th Century, however a German by the name of Lang, is thought to be responsible for the first commercially printed Advent calendars. These were produced in the early 1900's in Germany, with their popularity quickly spreading across the rest of the world.
In Williams' newsagents we specialise in stocking the "traditional" printed advent calendars, that 'people of a certain age' know and love from their childhood....when simply revealing a new picture on the Advent calendar each day was exciting enough, without the novelty of chocolate added to the equation!
Oh, happy days!
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