From the Sunday closest to November 30 to December 24 in West; from November 15 to December 24 in East
The Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian year in Western Christianity. Its length varies from 22 to 28 days, beginning on the Sunday nearest St. Andrew’s Day and encompassing the next three Sundays, ending on Christmas Eve.
In the Roman Catholic Church and those of the Anglican Communion the third Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday, from the first word of the introit, ‘‘Rejoice.’’ Rosecolored vestments may replace the purple, and flowers may be on the altar. Originally a period of reflection and penitence in preparation for Christmasin much the same way that Lent is in preparation for EasterAdvent has sometimes been referred to as the Winter Lent. But over time the restrictions of Advent have become greatly relaxed. Today it is usually associated with the Advent calendars that parents give their children to help them count the days until Christmas.
In Orthodox (Eastern) Christianity, the church year begins on September 1, and Advent begins on November 15. The Advent fast is called the Little Lent, because it’s shorter than the Great Lent preceding Easter.
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