The history and the origins of the Advent calendar

As the holiday season approaches, the Advent calendar takes center stage and represents a cherished tradition in many households. But have you ever wondered about the origins of this beloved countdown to Christmas? In this article, we delve into the rich history of the Advent calendar, tracing its origins, evolution, and the cultural significance it holds today.

Early origins and the Advent wreath

The concept of marking the Advent season dates back centuries, with early Christian communities observing a period of fasting and preparation in the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you want to know more about this, visit this site However, the specific practice of using a calendar to count down to Christmas began to emerge in the 19th century. Before the advent of the calendar, the Advent wreath played a significant role in the countdown to Christmas. Originating in 16th-century Germany, the wreath featured four candles, each representing one of the Advent Sundays. As the weeks progressed, a new candle was lit, symbolizing the approach of Christmas.

The first Advent calendar and commercial Advent calendars

The first known Advent calendar as we recognize it today was created in the early 19th century by a German Protestant named Gerhard Lang. Inspired by the Advent wreath, Lang designed a simple cardboard calendar with 24 small doors, one for each day leading up to Christmas. Behind each door was a biblical verse or image related to the Nativity story. By the early 20th century, the Advent calendar became famous beyond religious circles. Publishers and printers began producing commercial Advent calendars, featuring illustrations, pictures, or small gifts behind the numbered doors. These calendars appealed to both children and adults with a certain sense of excitement and anticipation to the holiday season.

Advent calendars around the world

As the concept of the Advent calendar spread, different countries developed their own unique variations. In Germany, Advent calendars often featured chocolates or small toys, while in Sweden, a candle was lit each day. In some Latin American countries, Advent calendars are in the form of “Posadas,” depicting the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.


Beyond the joy of opening doors and receiving treats, the Advent calendar holds deeper symbolism. It serves as a reminder of the anticipation and preparation that Christians undertake during the Advent season. The calendar’s countdown mirrors the waiting period for the arrival of Jesus, bringing a sense of spiritual reflection and gratitude during the holiday season. The history of the Advent calendar is a captivating tale of tradition, innovation, and cultural significance. From its humble beginnings as a cardboard calendar to the diverse array of designs and themes we see today, the Advent calendar continues to bring joy and anticipation to households around the world. As you open each door and mark the passing days, remember the rich history behind this cherished holiday tradition.

Modern Advent calendar innovations

With the advent of technology, the Advent calendar has also evolved. Digital Advent calendars become entirely known and allow individuals to open virtual doors on their smartphones or computers. Additionally, themed Advent calendars have emerged, catering to various interests such as beauty, crafts, and even craft beer, offering a surprise behind each door.