Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

No flowers in Advent

127Next Sunday, 29 November, is the first Sunday in Advent, the first of the four Sundays during which many churches prepare for the festival of Christmas.  The use of Advent wreaths – a wreath of evergreen foliage with four candles, one of which is lit on each of the Sunday – has become widespread in recent years,  but some churches ban floral decorations during this period.  More usual is the banishment of flowers during Lent, the 40 days on the run up to Easter.

Image:  notice at the entrance to St Mary Magdalene church, Castletown, Sherborne, Dorset; this church continues to use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which most Anglican churches abandoned in the 1970s; October 2015.


17 December 2015:  Casual observations while visiting churches in Somerset and elsewhere suggest that most churches forbid flowers during Advent, though most display Advent wreaths.

17 December 2021: Visited Brompton Oratory (a Roman Catholic church) in South Kensington, London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, on 15 December 2021, no flowers, etc., anywhere in the church.  Jane Lawson, of Woolwich, commented on 17 December: ‘Advent is a penitential season and also a “preparatory” season, so flowers, Christmas trees and all the rest are not appropriate, but wait until the vigil on Christmas Eve and all greenery is let loose’.

Edited 26 March 2022.

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