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First Sunday of Advent in the 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.

Is First Sunday of Advent a Public Holiday?

First Sunday of Advent is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, December 2, 2018 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours 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.

©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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SunNov 28First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2011SunNov 27First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2012SunDec 2First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2013SunDec 1First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2014SunNov 30First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2015SunNov 29First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2016SunNov 27First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2017SunDec 3First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2018SunDec 2First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2019SunDec 1First Sunday of AdventObservance 
2020SunNov 29First Sunday of AdventObservance 

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