Important Catholic Dates

The Catholic Church assigns certain days and seasons throughout the year to remember different events in the life of Christ.

One complete calendar year is represented in terms of the Catholic Church as a cycle of six liturgical seasons which determine which sections of scripture should be read from and which commemorations and memorials should be celebrated.

Advent

The liturgical year begins with the season of Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and runs until Christmas Eve. In 2009 advent begins on the 29th of November and runs for 26 days.

Christmas

Following advent, the Christmas season begins on the 24th December with Christmas Eve. Christmas day, the day commonly celebrated as the anniversary of the birth of Christ is held on the 25th December. The Christmas season then lasts until the feast of Epiphany which is celebrated on the 6th January through the traditional twelve days of Christmas.

There is then a period of “Ordinary Time” that belongs to no season in particular. This period will contain anywhere between 3 and 8 Sundays and ends with the start of Lent.

Lent

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for forty days, although any Sundays falling within this period are not counted. Lent includes the important dates of Good Friday and Palm Sunday.

Easter

Easter is the most important season in the Catholic liturgical year since it represents the resurrection of Christ. The feasts and celebrations of the Easter season, including Easter Sunday are not fixed in relation to the traditional calendar. Instead their dates are related to a lunar calendar.

Easter Sunday, also known as Resurrection Sunday, always falls between March 22nd and April 25th. Easter Monday follows and is a civil holiday in many countries.

Summary of dates

Ash Wednesday – The first day of Lent, forty six days before Easter Sunday
Palm Sunday – The Sunday before Easter Sunday
Good Friday – The Friday before Easter Sunday
Holy Saturday – The Saturday before Easter Sunday
All Saints Day – Normally held on November 1st
Christmas Eve – December 24th
Christams Day – December 25th

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