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First Sunday of Advent in United Kingdom

The first Sunday in Advent is the Sunday closest to St Andrew’s Day. This date marks the start of the liturgical or church year. It marks the start of the Christmas season for many people in the United Kingdom.

Four advent candles with decoration.
Advent candles are used in many places worldwide, including the United Kingdom, during the Advent season.
Advent candles are used in many places worldwide, including the United Kingdom, during the Advent season.
©iStockphoto.com/Jasmin Awad

What Do People Do?

Some Christians attend special church services on the first Sunday in Advent. Some churches also hold a Christingle service for children and families. During a Christingle service, each child is presented with or carries a Christingle. Parishioners collect money for the Children's Society to help support children facing violence, neglect or poverty in their daily lives.

Many people put up Christmas decorations in their homes, schools and offices on or just after the first Sunday in Advent. Some people write or post Christmas cards to family members and friends. Others bake a Christmas cake or cook a Christmas pudding on this date.

The Christmas lights in town centers and shopping centers and lights on large Christmas trees in public places are also turned on in ceremonies in this week. The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square in London is an annual present from the Norwegians to express their gratitude for the UK’s support for their country during World War II.

Public Life

The first Sunday of Advent is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Churches and shopping centers may be busier than usual as people prepare for the Christmas season.


Advent and particularly the four Sundays before Christmas Day have been a period of preparation for Christmas for many centuries. More information on the background to these celebrations and observances are given in our general article on the first Sunday in Advent.


Advent wreaths are groups of four candles with leaves and twigs from evergreen trees and plants. People light one candle on the first Sunday of Advent, two on the second Sunday, three on the third Sunday and all four on the fourth Sunday. Some people then continue to light all four candles during the Christmas period.

About First Sunday of Advent in other countries

Read more about First Sunday of Advent.

First Sunday of Advent Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
SunNov 282010First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunNov 272011First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunDec 22012First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunDec 12013First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunNov 302014First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunNov 292015First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunNov 272016First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunDec 32017First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunDec 22018First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunDec 12019First Sunday of AdventObservance 
SunNov 292020First Sunday of AdventObservance 

Quick Facts

The first Sunday in Advent is the start of the liturgical or church year for many Christians as well as the Christmas season for people in the United Kingdom (UK).

First Sunday of Advent 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Sunday of Advent 2017

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Name in other languages

First Sunday of AdventEnglish
Første søndag i adventNorwegian

Alternative name

Advent Sunday

List of dates for other years

Related holiday

Other holidays in November 2016 in United Kingdom

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