In Norway, Advent season is when Norwegians prepare for Christmas. Even though it is the darkest time of the year, it is full of activity, lights, parties and yummy food. Advent is essentially a countdown to the first day of Christmas. It starts on the fourth Sunday before the 25th of December and is usually observed each Sunday, until Christmas Day, by lighting a candle. Traditionally, with each lighting of the candle, the Advent Song is sung.
Advent 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 typically set in a table candelabra, either in a circle or a row, and placed on a table or in a window.
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 surprise 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 more 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.