“In German culture, we have the Advent calendar around Christmastime. It is a calendar given to children, usually younger ones, which lists the dates of December from 1-25th. There are flaps on each day and beyond that, there are two variations. One type is that under each flap, there is a piece of chocolate. Another type is that under each flap is one piece to a picture. Once you open all the flaps, the whole picture will emerge and it’s usually something to do with Christmas. Sometimes in Catholic Advent calendars, a Baby Jesus picture is under the last flap.”
In German history, many religious peoples created calendars to count down the first 24 days of December. Sometimes, they would physically mark a strike on the floor every day or they would light a new candle for every day. Ever since calendars began to be manufactured though, the countdown to December 25th has resided mainly on an Advent calendar. Incorporating the one picture a day aspect, or the chocolates for every new day, teaches young children patience, as they can only open one flap every day. It also teaches them, from a young age, the religious aspects of Christmas. My informant lives in America and said that she and her sisters all received individual Advent calendars every year when they were young. They had ones in which each flap contained a different candy, but also revealed a piece of a religious puzzle. Since in America, Christmas has become so commercialized, the Advent calendar really brought back her father’s German roots and allowed her parents to teach her about their religious backgrounds.