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The Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, marks a shift in the liturgical season of Advent observed by the Christian Church. The word 'Gaudete' stems from Latin, translating to 'rejoice' in English. This observance signifies joy and anticipation in the lead-up to Christmas, including the acknowledgment of the coming of Christ. Past the halfway point of Advent, this Sunday is distinguished by a rose-colored candle, which offers a departure from the traditional purple Advent candles symbolic of hope, love, and peace.
While the Advent season embraces ancient practices, the Third Sunday of Advent has acquired unique cultural significance in Norway, connecting it to local customs and traditions. In the northernmost regions of Norway, this day holds special importance. In times past, religious observances were blended with practices signaling the onset of longer daylight hours post the winter solstice, merging spirituality with nature-based traditions. Today, Norwegians anticipate the Third Sunday of Advent as a focal point in the progression towards the festive Yuletide season.
In Norway, this day is observed with the lighting of the third Advent candle, often accompanied by family gatherings, prayer, and singing of Advent hymns. For some, it includes communal celebration enhancing community spirit and togetherness. The readings on the Third Sunday of Advent focus on joy and preparation, resonating with the theme of anticipation and renewal. Unique to Norway, this Sunday can fall anytime during the Advent, the period starting from the fourth Sunday before Christmas through December 25th, typically aligning with long-standing solstice customs.
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References and related siteswww.learnreligions.com: What is Gaudete Sunday www.newadvent.org: Facts on Gaudete Sunday www.ncronline.org: Gaudete Sunday