Today is the first Sunday of Advent and although many of us today don’t even think about advent until we start our advent calendars on 1st December, the beginning of advent was a big thing for Tudor people.
Advent began, and still begins, on the Sunday nearest to the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, 30th November, and the word “advent” came from the Latin “adventus”, meaning “coming”. It was and is a time of preparing ourselves to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ, and for Tudor people that meant the beginning of four weeks of fasting, i.e. abstaining from meat. Christmas Eve was particularly strict, with eggs and cheese also being forbidden, but the fasting ended after midnight mass on Christmas Eve – it was then time to celebrate.
Click here to find out what Anne Boleyn was reading on the first Sunday of Advent.
Today is also the feast day of St Andrew the Apostle, patron saint of Scotland, so Happy St Andrew’s Day to all our Scottish friends and followers.