Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
The advent calendar has a unique story and can set a magical mood before Christmas. Which to choose? Who created the first calendar? Let’s get through the history of this unique good.
The origins of the advent calendar are said to date back to 1851. The Advent calendar was meant to enhance the joy of waiting for Christmas. Even back then, a picture was hung in homes each day concerning Christmas and the coming of Jesus into the world. Another variant was to light one of the 24 candles every day or to cross out one of the 24 lines drawn in chalk on the door. In Catholic homes, it was common to put one blade of straw in the nativity scene until Christmas Eve.
The first printed Advent calendars appeared in 1902 in Hamburg and were in the shape of a clock with numbers from 13 to 24 (after 20 years, 24 numbers were introduced). In 1903, a printed version was also produced in Munich: 24 pictures to be cut out and a special sheet with windows to be glued on.
Story of impatient child
The origin of the cute advent calendar is linked to the story of a printer, Gerhard Lang. As a little boy, he couldn’t wait for Christmas Eve. He constantly pestered his mother with questions: “When? Is it already today?”. His impatient mother drew 24 numbers on a piece of cardboard and sewed “Wibele” (a kind of oblong sponge biscuit – ed.) onto them. Little Gerhard could eat one biscuit every day. When he grew up, in 1930, he started producing calendars with chocolates inside.
This was precisely the moment when the commercialisation of the advent calendar took place. Nevertheless, new versions were still being invented to preserve their true purpose – to prepare for Christmas, to create atmosphere, and to remind us of biblical scenes. The version with opening windows and pictures of the most beautiful nativity scenes was prevalent. It was not uncommon to see them hand-painted by eminent artists, reaching sky-high prices. Nowadays, apart from advent calendars filled to the brim with sweets, you can also find advent calendars with LEGO bricks, cosmetics or perfume.