Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church, is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. It was historically known as "little Lent," because, like Lent, it is a time of repentance, with prayer, fasting, and Confession.
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, and therefore varies in length between 22 days and 28 days. (In 2011, it is 28 days long.) The following is a list of the dates of the Sundays and major feast days that fall in Advent 2011.
- First Sunday of Advent (Sunday, November 27, 2011)
- Second Sunday of Advent (Sunday, December 4, 2011)
- Feast of Saint Nicholas (Tuesday, December 6, 2011)
- Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) (Sunday, December 11, 2011)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe (Monday, December 12, 2011)
- Feast of Saint Lucy (Tuesday, December 13, 2011)
- Fourth Sunday of Advent (Sunday, December 18, 2011)
- Christmas Eve (Saturday, December 24, 2011)