Advent’s focus is waiting for Christmas but also includes lots of feasts

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December 2, 2015

Amy Olsen holds her 1-year-old daughter, Piper, as she lights a candle on the Advent wreath at St. Raphael the Archangel Church in St. Louis Oct. 29. The wreath, with a candle marking each week of the season, is a traditional symbol of the liturgical period. (CNS photo/Lisa Johnston)

Amy Olsen holds her 1-year-old daughter, Piper, as she lights a candle on the Advent wreath at St. Raphael the Archangel Church in St. Louis Oct. 29. The wreath, with a candle marking each week of the season, is a traditional symbol of the liturgical period. (CNS photo/Lisa Johnston)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Although the four weeks of Advent focus on waiting for Christmas, the church does not just sit around and wait for the main event.

It celebrates plenty of major feasts with lots of customs, traditions and even special foods during the month of December.

Early in the Advent season, Dec. 6, the church celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop from the region of modern-day Turkey, well known for his generosity. The day has customs similar to Christmas but with variations: Instead of gifts placed in stockings or under the tree, they are placed in children’s shoes left outside their bedroom door the previous night.

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