Christian Holidays

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The most important Christian holiday is Easter, a spring holiday that celebrates Christ's resurrection from the dead.

Easter is immediately preceded by Holy Week, which includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. The 40 days prior to Easter form the Lenten season, a time of fasting and repentance.

Another holiday that has become important is Christmas, which commemorates the birth of Jesus on December 25 (January 6 in Orthodox Churches).

Saints' days are also important to most Christian denominations. Some of these, such as St. Patrick's Day and St. Valentine's Day, have come to play a prominent role in popular western culture.

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Advent

The season of Advent (adventus, "coming") marks the beginning of the church year and the approach of Christmas.

All Saints Day

All Saints' Day is a holiday honoring all Christian saints. In Western Christianity, All Saints' Day begins at sundown on October 31 (Halloween) and finishes at sundown on November 1 (All Saints' Day)...

Ash Wednesday

The first day of Lent, a period of fasting that leads up to Easter. Its central ritual is placing of ashes on the forehead.

Boxing Day

Celebrated in Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, this was when servants and the poor were traditionally given gifts.

Christmas

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The English word "Christmas" derives from the old English Christes maesse, or "Christ's mass."

Easter

Easter is the spring festival that celebrates the resurrection of Christ. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year.

Epiphany

The celebration of Epiphany (epiphaneia, "manifestation") recalls the visit of the Magi, symbolizing Christ's manifestation to Gentiles.

Good Friday

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It is a solemn holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

History of Christian Holidays

Holidays have been a part of Christianity from the beginning, with Easter being the oldest.

Lent

Lent is a 40-day period of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter.

Lord's Day (Sunday)

In Christianity, the day of the week devoted to rest and worship is Sunday, or the "Lord's Day."

Mardi Gras

Celebrated on the last day before Lent, this is a day to enjoy one last feast before the 40-day fast.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is the sixth Sunday of Lent and the last Sunday before Easter. It commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

St. Andrew's Day

St. Andrew's Day marks the martyrdom of the apostle Andrew, brother to Saint Peter, and is especially associated with Scottish identity.

St. Patrick's Day

The Catholic feast day that honors St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is celebrated worldwide by the Irish, those of Irish descent, or "Irish for a day."

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving celebrates a shared meal between Christian Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621. It is not a religious holiday, but has an interesting, semi-religious history.

Twelfth Night

Made famous by the Shakespearean play, Twelfth Night marks the end of the Christmas season.

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a celebration of romantic love. Although associated with a saint, modern Valentine's Day is a non-religious holiday.

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