In Norway, Advent is the time of year when Christians count the days to the birth of Christ celebration – Christmas. Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before the 25th of December and is observed each Sunday until Christmas Day by lighting one candle on the first Sunday, two on the second, and so on. Traditionally, with each lighting of the candles, the Advent Song is sung.
This season features the colour purple, as purple symbolises anticipation and preparation. Traditionally four purple candles are used to represent each Sunday, however it is now common to have white candles, or even red. Candles are usually set in a table candelabra, either in a circle or a row, and placed on a table or in a window. A decorative plate is sometimes used with the base decorated with tinsel or baubles.
During this season it is also common to highlight the house with purple decorations such as cushions, linen, ornaments and plates.
A more recent tradition is the Advent or Christmas calendar. The calendars start a countdown from the 1st of December to the 24th. Every day a pocket of goodies, toys or special messages, awaits. Advent calendars are usually wall hangings with pockets, however, there are also many modern varieties such as matchboxes with draws, a string of mini stockings dressing windows or a hanging clothesline with pegs. A most recent addition is a string of gingerbread, each cookie with the number of the day, to be eaten.
A traditional Advent calendar is made with an orange and cloves. 24 cloves are spiked into the orange, which makes a yummy Christmasy smell. Each day a clove is taken out and when there are none left you’ll know tomorrow is Christmas Day. These calendars are popular in Norway as they have a rustic feel and are perfect to rest in table wreaths, to put on the dinning table or with Christmas platters.