Advent

Christmas lasts for almost a month, and festivities can begin on Saint Martinís day, November 11, and end on January 6 with Epiphany. Advent (which comes from the Latin Adventus, the coming or the arrival) lasts four weeks, during which time religious rituals prepare for the celebration of Christmas.

In the past this was a period of fasting when no meat, cheese or alcoholic drinks could be consumed. During this time, the Christmas meal was prepared by butchering a pig, making pastries, and cleaning and decorating the house.
Today, children can open the boxes on their Advent calendars to count the days until Christmas.