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 2012, it is 23 days long.) The following is a list of the dates of the Sundays and major feast days that fall in Advent 2012.
- First Sunday of Advent (Sunday, December 2, 2012)
- Feast of Saint Nicholas (Thursday, December 6, 2012)
- Immaculate Conception (Saturday, December 8, 2012)
Holy Day of Obligation; see Is Immaculate Conception a Holy Day of Obligation? for more details.
- Second Sunday of Advent (Sunday, December 9, 2012)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe (Wednesday, December 12, 2012)
- Feast of Saint Lucy (Thursday, December 13, 2012)
- Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) (Sunday, December 16, 2012)
- Fourth Sunday of Advent (Sunday, December 23, 2012)
- Christmas Eve (Monday, December 24, 2012)
- Christmas (Tuesday, December 25, 2012)
Holy Day of Obligation