How Christians Celebrate Religious Festivals and Why they Continue to Celebrate Them Today

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How Christians Celebrate Religious Festivals and Why they Continue to Celebrate Them Today

The church year is called the liturgical year, which begins with

Advent, and it has many liturgical seasons. Each season has one or

more religious festivals. Festivals are celebrations to remember the

important events in Jesus' life.

There are three cycles in the Christian year, these are;

(i) The Christmas cycle begins with Advent , a period of preparation

prior to Christmas Day, December 25th, when Jesus was born. On January

6th is the Epiphany.

(ii) The Easter Cycle - This is the most important cycle. Beginning on

Ash Wednesday, people receive ashes on their forehead in mass. Lent is

a 40 day period before Easter, commemorative of the 40 days Jesus went

into the desert. This reflective preparation ends with Holy week,

containing contrasting important days, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

(iii) Whitsun Cycle , the least important of the three cycles, begins

with Ascension day which is 40 days after Jesus' resurrection at

Easter. Whitsun/Pentecost occurs 10 days later to celebrate the coming

of the Holy Spirit onto the apostles.

Most festivals' dates are static, for example Christmas (December 25th)

and Epiphany (January 6th). Saints days always remain on the same day,

e.g. Saint Patrick's (March 17th).

The Easter Cycle moves according to the moon, with Easter Day falling

on the first full moon after March 21st. This movement directly

effects the Whitsun Cycle. Because Ascension and Pentecost have to be

40 and 50 days after Easter Day respectively.

Advent is a time spanning four weeks directly before Christmas. People

set time aside to prepare, by repenting their sins or doing something

cheerful, like opening one window of an Advent Calendar every morning

and reading the spiritual message inside, to guide them throughout the

day. Christmas cards, a fairly recent custom, are sent to others

wishing a happy Christmas.

Christmas Day,December 25th ,is the second most important festival of

the liturgical year. People can do many things to commemorate Jesus'

birth, like Carol singing or the cultural tradition of decorating a

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