Monday, November 28, 2011

Celtic Advent

Celtic Advent is always Nov. 15-Dec. 24 (Observance begins at Sunset on Nov. 14). The Dates are the same for Eastern Orthodox Advent (Nativity Fast).

For those Christians that observe the Church Seasons, Advent is theChurch Season just before Christmas. In what is referred to as the Western Church (Roman Catholics and Protestants, including Anglicans) observance of Advent Season occurs during the period of the four Sundays before Christmas. The beginning of Western Advent can therefore fall any time between November 27th and December 3rd.

Advent ends on December 24th at sundown, the beginning of Christmas Eve (for Roman Catholics, when December 24 falls on a Sunday, as it did in 2006, the Sunday obligation for Catholics to attend Church still applies, and it is treated as the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and the Vigil of Christmas begins at Evening Prayer I, later that day).

Our English word advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means arrival. In the Latin Vulgate of Jerome, this was the word used to translate the Greek word parousia, which in the New Testament refers to the Second Coming of Christ. So in Advent season we reflect on the two advents, or arrivals of Christ. The Nativity, the birth of Christ, the coming of the Christmas celebration. And also on the Second Coming of Christ, for which, since we do not know when it will be (or the time of the end of our own lives), we should always be ready.

Advent has historically been a time for reflection and prayer. Christ, the Messiah, will be born in Bethlehem, he will save us from our sins. On Christmas day we will celebrate His Nativity, his birth, His First Coming. Christ will come again, to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end. Let us use this time of preparation for the celebration of His First Coming to especially prepare our hearts and lives for His Second Coming.

From its origin in the 4th century and on, it was also a time of fasting. The fasting portion was first dropped by the Protestant Churches, and then by the Roman Catholic Church, but is still observed in the Eastern Orthodox Communions.During the time of ancient Celtic Christianity, the entire Church, both Western (including the Celtic Christians), and Eastern (the Orthodox Communions, Oriental Churches, and Eastern Rite Roman Catholics) all celebrated a longer Advent Season as a lesser Lenten fast.

It began on the same date every year on November 15th (Orthodox Churches still observe it as beginning on this day). In the early Church (and going back also through the Old Testament era) and still currently inOrthodox and Roman Catholic practice, every day (liturgical day) officially begins at sundown of the previous date (in this case, sundown on the 14th begins the liturgical observance of the 15th of November).

Observance of Advent appears to have taken place since the 4th Century (300's A.D.) Like Lent, it originally was a season when new Christians studied in preparation for being baptized. In the early Middle AgesAdvent was the Season of preparing oneself for the Second Coming of Christ. It was a season of repentance and dedication to prayer.

Advent seems to have been a result of the observance of the Celticmonks in Gaul, which was taken and combined with a similar three to six-week period of fasting that had been observed in the city of Rome before Christmas (remember, France was still known by the Roman name of "Gaul" in this era, and was still a Celtic country at this time--this was even before St. Patrick converted Ireland---and there were as yet no IrishCeltic monks!).

The Gallic fast (in modern-day northern France) began at sundown after the celebration of the Feast Day (Nov. 11th) of Martin of Tours, a Roman Cavalry officer who became a Christian and founded the first monastery in Gaul (modern-day France).


  1. An Advent that is more like Lent might do all of us some good. Thank you

  2. Hello!

    I've given your blog a Liebster Blog Award! :)

    ~ The Medieval World


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