Christian Holidays

March 17, 2004 · updated February 15, 2022

Christian holidays are celebrated throughout the year by most denominations of Christianity. Feast days celebrate joyous events like the birth of Christ, while fast days provide a special opportunity for self-reflection and repentance. Some Christian holidays have come to have a considerable impact on western culture and traditions.

The oldest and most important Christian holiday is Easter, a spring holiday that celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. This event was originally celebrated every Sunday (the "Lord's Day").

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. Other holidays with Christian origins that are now mostly secular celebrations include Mardi Gras and Thanksgiving.

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