PORTLAND — People can celebrate the Advent season at Festival of Lessons and Carols events set to be presented at multiple locations in Maine in the coming weeks.

The festival is a tradition that dates back to the late 19th century. It is a blend of Scripture, prayers, and Christmas carols chosen to tie into the themes of the season. It is one of the rare times carols such as “Silent Night” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” are sung in church prior to Christmas Eve.

The story of salvation will be told through nine Scripture readings or lessons, which begin with the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and continue through the birth of Christ.

Festivals are free and scheduled as follows:

• Sunday, Dec. 5 — Holy Cross Church, 124 Cottage Road, South Portland, 5 p.m.;

• Friday, Dec. 10 — Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress St., Portland, 7 p.m.;


• Friday, Dec. 10 — Holy Family Church, 429 Main Street, Old Town, 7 p.m.;

• Friday, Dec. 17 — St. Rose of Lima Church, 1 Church St., Jay, 6 p.m.; and

• Saturday, Dec. 18 — St. John the Baptist Church, 39 Pleasant St., Brunswick, 7 p.m.

Each Sunday afternoon in Advent, St. Mary Church — located at 144 Lincoln St. in Bath — will host 30-minute presentations of singing, music, prayer, and reflection. Each session will run from 3 to 3:30 p.m., and all are welcome to attend the gatherings on Dec. 5, 12 and 19.

A special Advent section on the Diocese of Portland’s website features resources including a variety of prayers, blessings and reflections; downloadable and interactive calendars; and event listings for the diocese. The section can be found online at portlanddiocese.org.

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