Advent Sunday

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Advent Sunday
Electric candle lights on the first Sunday in Advent
Observed by Western Christianity
Type Christianity
Celebrations Season of Advent
Date Fourth Sunday before Christmas Day
2015 date 29 November
2016 date 27 November
2017 date 3 December
2018 date 2 December
Frequency annual
Related to Christmas Day

Advent Sunday is, for the Western Christian churches that use the term, the first day of the liturgical year and the start of the season of Advent.[1] In Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist churches the celebrant wears violet-coloured or blue vestments on this day, and the first violet or blue Advent candle is lit at Mass. In the Church of Sweden, however, the Liturgical colour is white: the motivation is that the day is a joyful feast (the colour is changed to blue, the traditional colour for Advent in Scandinavia, or—if the church does not possess blue vestments—violet after 6 p.m.). Zechariah 9:9–10 and Matthew 21:1–9 are always read in the service, and the symbolism of the day is that Christ enters the church.

The Catholic Church does not use the term "Advent Sunday" of any one Sunday alone. With regard to the Roman Rite, it states that "Advent begins with First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of the Sunday that falls on or closest to 30 November and it ends before First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of Christmas", and adds: "The Sundays of this time of year are named the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays of Advent."[2] It also does not allow the use of blue vestments as the liturgical colour of the season. In the Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite, the First Sunday in Advent comes two weeks earlier than in the Roman, being on the Sunday after St. Martin's Day (11 November), six weeks before Christmas.[3]

Advent Sunday is the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. This is equivalent to the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew's Day, 30 November, and the Sunday following the Feast of Christ the King. It can fall on any date between 27 November and 3 December. When Christmas Day is a Monday, Advent Sunday will fall on its latest possible date. Note that it is also possible to compute the date of Advent Sunday by adding three days to the date of the last Thursday of November; it can also be computed as the Sunday before the first Thursday of December.

Advent Sunday falls on the following dates:

  • 2014: 30 November
  • 2015: 29 November
  • 2016: 27 November
  • 2017: 3 December
  • 2018: 2 December
  • 2019: 1 December
  • 2020: 29 November
  • 2021: 28 November
  • 2022: 27 November
  • 2023: 3 December

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. Second edition, 1989. "Advent Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent, the Sunday nearest to the thirtieth of November."
  2. ^ Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year, 40–41
  3. ^ Philip H. Pfatteicher, Journey into the Heart of God (Oxford University Press 2013 ISBN 978-0-19999714-5)