On the first of December, children (and adults!) all around the world will be opening the first door of their Christmas Advent Calendars, eager to see what picture, chocolate, or gift is hiding inside. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin phrase “coming toward.” For Christians, the period of Advent marks “coming toward” the most important date in their year, the birth of Christ.
The idea of physically marking Advent has its roots in late 19th century Germany, when the Lutherans made chalk marks on doors from December 1st until the 24th.
Many of us enjoy the tradition of Advent Calendars today, and in recent years the Advent Calendar has becoming increasingly popular, and increasingly elaborate with windows opening to reveal perfume, wine, gin and more.
In Newbury we’re lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy a “Living Advent Calendar”. The “Living Advent Calendar” is based on an original idea from Stockholm and began here in 2018. It runs every evening from December 1st to 24th. Like a children’s Advent Calendar, a different window or door is opened at 6pm promptly each evening and a short performance/event is given to the audience assembled. This can include songs, carols, music, poetry, book excerpts, notes from local history or folklore, sketches, dance etc, all with a Christmas or winter focus to them.
The Newbury Spring Festival is delighted to be part of that tradition this year, and we “opened” our door number three last night. Members of the Newbury Spring Festival Chorus were on hand to perform some Carols, and Jane had done a marvellous job of baking over 150 mince pies! We even managed to serve warm mulled wine. It certainly feels like the Christmas season is upon us now.
Do join the rest of the trail and watch as other windows are opened around the town – there’s more information on the Facebook page with details of where will open next!