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On the first day of Christmas, the Minster gave to me…

The month of advent has officially begun.

Last night the people of York came together to celebrate the first night of December.

As I took my seat I began to get a real sense of how important religion still is when celebrating Christmas in York.

The fullness of the church proved that Christianity is still apart of Christmas celebrations.

York Minster celebrates the beginning of Christmas annually.

It first began in the fourth and fifth centuries as christians celebrated for 40 days like lent. The tradition later developed to the four Sundays before Christmas.

The service began just after 5pm on Sunday evening. The lights turned off, plumeting the audience into darkness.

The historic building gradually gained light as candles passed their flames from person to person until everywhere was lit by candlelight.

The light then followed the York Minster Choir as they traveled from the west of the Minster to the east, signifying the inaugural preparations for return of Christ.

The singing of hymns, and readings of passages from the bible echoed around the room intensified the procession elevating the meaning behind the procession.

Sharon Atkinson, Director of Communications for York Minster explains; “many parish churches and certainly, most cathedrals have an advent procession.

It represents the coming of hope symbolised by the birth of the baby Jesus – the Light of the World and to Christians – this is the real meaning of Christmas.”

It is also a good evening for those who don’t relate so strongly with Christian beliefs as a great way to celebrate the start of Christmas.

In other words, the atmosphere of York citizens coming together for the first day of advent is a remarkable evening.

As the month progresses the minster is holding more events to celebrate Christmas.

06 DEC 19 – Sankta Lucia – Festival of Light – 7:30 pm

Candlelit procession and carol service for all the family based on the traditional Swedish Lucia celebration

07 DEC 19 – Handel’s Messiah- 7:00pm

The York Minster Choir will be joined by internationally renowned soloists this Christmas for a special performance of Handel’s Messiah.

13 DEC – 05 JAN 20 – Experience Christmas Trail

Discover more about the Christmas story by exploring family-friendly activity stops hidden around the Minster.

22 DEC – 24 DEC – Nine Lessons and Carols

Carols by the York Minster Choir, and hymns for everyone to join in. Leading to the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day annual services.