What is Advent?
The word "Advent" comes from the Latin Adventus, which means "coming." It is a time for quiet reflection, prayer and conversion in anticipation of the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The readings and the liturgies during Advent prepare us for the birth of Jesus, but they also prepare us for the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the world. The season offers us the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert as we await his Second Coming. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. It ends at sundown on Christmas Eve. Since Christmas falls on different days of the week, Advent can range in duration from 22 days when Christmas falls on a Monday to 28 days when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. Unlike the secular year, which marks the passage of time, the liturgical year celebrates the sacred mysteries of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The year begins during Advent in anticipation of the coming of Jesus with reflections on the Hebrew prophecies and the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah.What do the colors of Advent signify?
The purple or dark blue is a symbol of royalty that anticipates the coming birth of Jesus. It also reflects a spirit of penitence and the need to prepare our hearts. Pink is a secondary Advent color that symbolizes the joy of the season. The evergreens in the Advent wreath signify eternal life that comes to us through Jesus.What are the rules regarding fasting and abstinence during Advent?
There are no longer any "official" days of fast or abstinence during Advent, but Catholics are encouraged to prepare themselves spiritually during Advent with voluntary acts of prayer, fasting, penance and almsgiving.