People around the world celebrate Advent, the period each December where Christians prepare for Christmas. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, on the 29th of November this year. The fourth Sunday, is here on the 20th of December. There are decorations, candle lighting, concerts, and fundraisings in Debrecen. Learn more about this holiday.
The lighting of an advent wreath candle is a common way to countdown to Christmas. The candles represent the four Sundays of Advent, and one candle is lit on each Sunday in Advent.
Another method to countdown to Xmas, the advent calendar, is a quite popular form of confectionary. This is a type of calendar that has a door for every day of Advent. Behind each door is an item, usually chocolate. These chocolates are often made into the shape of Christmas icons such as mistletoe and bells. But there are also advent calendars containing 24 LEGO pieces and 24 diamonds.
On the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, Christians take a break from repenting to celebrate Christ’s imminent arrival. Churches use rose-colored candles and decorations, and the clergy preach about joy, redemption, and blessings. Christians may pray and reflect on the things for which they are grateful.
Advent is the time when Christmas preparations really move up a gear. Presents are wrapped, trees are decorated.
For decades, it is common in Debrecen to organize an advent market, which is a very popular attraction every December, especially the illuminated Ferris wheel, but this year it is canceled. Instead, there are power saving LED illumination, advent tram, flower cart, and Christmas crib on Kossuth square.
The main events of the celebrations became online, so we can watch the lighting of an advent wreath candle live on the Debreceni Advent Facebook page at 5 pm on Sundays. The advent concerts of the Big Church attracted tens of thousands of people in the previous years. This year the organizers broadcast former concerts on Facebook at 7 pm on Mondays. The next one is Nikolas Takács on the 21st of December.
Another significant aspect of Advent is charity. Religious organizations arrange fundraisings across the city. There are a lot of places where you can give donations like preservable food (flour, sugar, rice, tinned food, etc.), clothes, and toys. Here is the list of them:
- St. Luke’s Greek Catholic Service Point (7 Attila Square): between 8 am and 12 am on weekdays
- The main entrance of Kölcsey Center (1-3 Hunyadi Street): between 8 am and 6 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 1 pm on Saturdays until the 23rd of December
- New City Hall (11 Kálvin Square), Karakter 1517 Bookshop and Café (Kossuth Square), Myra Present (9 Petőfi Square)
There is also an offline exhibition in the storefront of Kölcsey Center facing Hunyadi Street until the 27th of December. Those walking there can see a winter landscape with polar bears, reindeer and Santa Claus.