Provided by WorldNow
For most western Christians, Advent is a time to prepare spiritually for the celebration of Christ's birthday on Christmas Day.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew, which falls on Nov. 30, and continues until the Sunday before Christmas.
Advent often is marked at home by lighting candles on an Advent wreath. Meanwhile, youngsters may count down the days until Christmas with an Advent calendar.
In Eastern Orthodox churches which use the Julian calendar, Advent begins earlier, on November 15, and lasts 40 days, rather than 4 weeks.
You can learn more about Advent from the interactive online Advent calendar developed by BeliefNet.com.