Roman Catholic Holy Days
Roman Catholics celebrate the many special holy days that are recognised by the Roman Catholic Church, as well as attending Mass every Sunday. Each holy day celebrates a significant event in the history of the religion, and is celebrated on a particular day or period of days.
Many of these holidays are also celebrated by other Christian groups as well.
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God commemorates the divine motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the God-Bearer, Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on January 1st, on the Octave day of Christmas.
Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles and the visit of the Wise Men to the Christ child. Epiphany is traditionally celebrated on January 6, although in some countries, it is transferred to the nearest Sunday.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of the penitential season of Lent, in which ashes are placed on the head or forehead of the faithful. It is a fast day and falls 46 days (40 days excluding Sundays) before Easter Sunday.
The Solemnity of the Annunciation commemorates the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she would conceive Jesus, and the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit at that moment. The feast falls on March 25th.
Palm Sunday, or Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion is the Sunday of Holy Week, whcih is celebrated a week before Easter. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Holy Thursday is the Thursday of Holy Week. Holy Thursday commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Ordination.
Good Friday is the Friday of Holy Week, and commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Good Friday is a fast day in the Catholic Church.
Holy Saturday Holy Saturday is the final day of Holy Week and the final day of the traditional 40 day Lenten Fast .Holy Saturday commemorates Jesus lying in the tomb until his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Easter Sunday is the feast of Christ's resurrection from the dead. It is celebrated on the Sunday following Holy Week. Easter is also a 50-day season, often called Eastertide.
The Solemnity of the Ascension commemorates Jesus' ascension into heaven 40 days after his resurrection. Thus Ascension Day falls 40 days after Easter, on the 6th Thursday of Easter.
Pentecost celebrates the birthday of the Christian Church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in the Book of Acts. Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
Assumption celebrates Mary assumed or taken up into heaven by God "after the completion of her earthly life" August 15.
All Saints Day is when the Church commemorates all saints, known and unknown. The eve of All Saints is known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. All Saints Day is November 1.
All Souls Day is when the Church commemorates and prays for the holy souls in Purgatory, undergoing purification of their sins before entering heaven. All Souls Day is November 2nd, the day after All Saints Day.
Advent is the 4 week period before Christmas when the Church celebrates the first coming of Christ and anticipates his second coming. Advent starts of the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and can fall on any date between November 27 and December 3 inclusive.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrates Mary's conception, without sin. The Immaculate Conception is a uniquely Catholic feast. The feast day falls on December 8th.
Christmas celebrates the birthday of Jesus Christ our Savior.