Christian Holidays

Note that the size of the rows does not correspond to length of time.

Advent
Starting on the Sunday nearest Nov 30th and observed for four Sundays until Dec 24th

Advent is the beginning of the Christian worship year. Christians prepare for the birth of Christ by lighting of advent candles, displaying wreaths, and observing special ceremonies. Advent also anticipates the coming again to earth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas
12 days from Dec 25th until Jan 6th

Christmas (Dec 25th) - Celebration of Mary giving birth to Jesus.

Epiphany (Jan 6th) - Feast commemorating the adoration of the new-born Jesus by the Three Magi or Wise Men.

ordinary time
Jan 7th until the beginning of Lent

Candlemas (Feb 2nd) - Celebration of the presentation of young Jesus in the temple. New beginnings are recognized. Candles are lighted.

Lent
40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday

Ash Wednesday (40 days before Easter, which is tied to Passover)  - Fast day to begin Lent.  Ashes are marked on worshippers as a sign of penitence.  A time of purification by self-reflection, peace-making, reparation for harm done, and helping those in need. 

Annunciation Day (March 25th) - Feast commemorating Archangel Gabriel announcing to the Virgin Mary the coming birth of Jesus, and her assenting to conceive the child.

Holy Week
from Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday

Palm Sunday - Feast marking Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Marks the start of Holy Week.

Maundy Thursday - Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, gave them bread and wine in what is now known as the Last Supper, and told of the Holy Spirit who would come after him. It is usually observed with the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Good Friday - Fast day to mourn the torture and killing of Jesus by the Roman authorities, and to contemplate the sacrifice made for the liberation of all.

Easter
50 days from Easter Sunday until Pentecost Sunday

Easter/Pascha (observance is tied to Passover) - Celebration of Jesus' resurrection, the triumph of life over death.

Walpurgis/May Day (May 1st) - Feast of Saint Walpurga. Spring festival exactly six months from All Hallows Eve.

Ascension Day (6th Thurs after Easter) - Feast marking Jesus' ascension into Heaven, marking his departure from earth after the resurrection.

Pentecost (7th Sunday after Easter)- Feast celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit, upon the disciples of Jesus.

ordinary time
from Pentecost until Advent

Saint John's Day/Midsummer (June 24th) - Feast day of Saint John the Baptist. Summer festival six months before Christmas.

Lammas (August 1st) - Celebration observed by placing bread baked from first harvest on the altar.

Michaelmas (Sept 29th) - Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel. In medieval England, Michaelmas marked the ending and beginning of the husbandman's year

Hallowmas (Oct 31st - Nov 2nd) - A time to remember the dead.

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