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Advent Sunday

The first Sunday in Advent is the Sunday closest to St. Andrews Day This date marks the start of the liturgical or church year. It marks the start of the Christmas season for many people in the United Kingdom

What do people do?

Some Christians attend special church services on the first Sunday in Advent. Some churches also hold a Christingle service for children and families. During a Christingle service, each child is presented with or carries a Christingle. Parishioners collect money for the Children's Society to help support children facing violence, neglect or poverty in their daily lives.

Many people put up Christmas decorations in their homes, schools and offices on or just after the first Sunday in Advent. Some people write or post Christmas cards to family members and friends. Others bake a Christmas cake or cook a Christmas pudding on this date.

The Christmas lights in town centres and shopping centres and lights on large Christmas trees in public places are also turned on in ceremonies in this week. The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square in London is an annual present from the Norwegians to express their gratitude for the UK’s support for their country during World War II.

Public life

The first Sunday of Advent is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Churches and shopping centres may be busier than usual as people prepare for the Christmas season.

Background

Advent and particularly the four Sundays before Christmas Day have been a period of preparation for Christmas for many centuries.

Advent wreaths are groups of four candles with leaves and twigs from evergreen trees and plants. People light one candle on the first Sunday of Advent, two on the second Sunday, three on the third Sunday and all four on the fourth Sunday. Some people then continue to light all four candles during the Christmas period.