According to some traditions, spiritual preparations for Christmas can start as early as after All Saints Day.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the season of Advent begins liturgically on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This means that it typically falls between November 27 and December 3.
However, in the history of the Church, there are various traditional ways of celebrating Advent, the period of preparation before Christmas, with different starting dates.
Here are a few different options if you want to start your Christmas preparations early.
November 2 – Franciscan Advent
In the Rule that St. Francis of Assisi wrote for his brothers, he proclaims a special “Christmas fast” that starts as early as November 2.
November 1 is a feast day, so the fasting would technically begin the day after it. This marks a special time of spiritual preparation for Christmas for many Franciscans.
November 11 – St. Martin’s Fast
Many medieval Christians would begin a Christmas fast following the feast of St. Martin of Tours, which was celebrated on either November 11 or November 12, depending on which calendar was being used.
This fast is often called, “St. Martin’s Fast,” or “St. Martin’s Lent.”
November 15 – St. Philip’s Fast
Beginning in the 8th century, Eastern Christians doubled down on their preparations for Christmas. They followed Christ’s example of fasting for 40 days in the desert before he began his public ministry. To properly prepare for the glorious celebration of Christmas on December 25, they fasted for 40 days, beginning November 15 and ending on Christmas Eve.
This date follows the Eastern feast of St. Philip the Apostle on November 14 and is often called, “St. Philip’s Fast.“