With the beginning of the month of December, the period of Advent, the liturgical period composed by the four Sundays preceding Christmas, also begins. A moment of preparation for the Catholic believers.
This period also coincides with the beginning of the opening of the Advent Calendar, a tradition which, contrary to what one might think, originated in Germany, at the beginning of the 19th century. Protestant families used to attach religious images to the windows, or to mark twenty-four lines on the wall with chalk and erase one per day until Christmas. A way to prepare and fill the wait, especially dedicated to children.
This tradition was first marketed in 1902 by Gerhard Lang, who created a “calendar” made up of two sheets: one with twenty-four images to cut out and glue, and the other with as many empty spaces to fill.
An idea born from the reworking of family custom: his mother, in fact, when he was a child, gave him a cardboard box with twenty-four biscuits, to eat one a day, while waiting on the arrival of Christmas Day.
It was a success and this first version of the Advent calendar was followed by others, again and again more similar to today’s ones, with little boxes to open and sweets or chocolates hidden inside.
Nowadays, the tradition of the Advent calendar is widespread and has almost lost its religious meaning. It’s now a proper countdown, which many brands are exploiting to create personalized calendars with their own products.
There are many types: from the classic ones with the cardboard box and the little slots to open, to those made up of twenty-four paper envelopes and increasingly people prefer kits to make their own calendars at home, rather than having them already made.
Today, adults and children participate in this practice with personalized calendars, demonstrating how this ancient tradition has crossed centuries and cultural boundaries, transforming into a sweet anticipation full of surprises for everyone.