I don’t remember Advent being a feature of Christmas during my childhood. No calendar, no chocolate. Perhaps it was just our house but I don’t recall any of my friend’s homes having one either.
I first became aware of Advent through the poem of the same name by Patrick Kavanagh (see poem below). It was on our syllabus for the Intermediate Cert or the Leaving Cert (they all melt into one for me). I immediately connected to the power of the ‘ordinariness’ of the language and images. It struck a chord with me both emotionally and spiritually in the way words inexplicably do sometimes. I was fascinated with Paddy Kavanagh and his ‘black slanted Ulster hills’ and his ‘stony grey soil of Monaghan’ – insights both earthy and ethereal into Irish rural life. Read more