Christian celebrations and festivals center
around important dates in Jesus' life.
Advent - the 4 week season of preparation for
the birth of Christ, and for the Second Coming. Often an Advent wreathe is
used as a focus for prayer during Advent.
Christmas - Jesus' birth - often celebrated
with nativity scenes, stories, pageants recalling the story of Jesus' humble
birth in a stable surrounded by animals.
Epiphany - the visit of the three wise ones to
Jesus just after his birth and their subsequent spreading of the news of his
birth throughout the world.
Lent - the period leading up to Easter
commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fasting and praying. A
time for personal reflection and improvement through prayer, fasting, and
Holy Week – the last week of Jesus' life,
including Palm Sunday, which celebrates his triumphal entry into Jerusalem
the week before he was crucified; Maundy Thursday, a remembrance of the Last
Supper with the disciples; and Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified on a
cross, which is the most recognized symbol of Christianity.
Easter - Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
Eggs are a major symbol of Easter since they symbolize new life. Crosses are
often covered with flowers to symbolize Jesus' victory over death.
Ascension Day - when Jesus' ascended into
Pentecost - the gift of the Holy Spirit, God's
presence in the world, to Jesus' followers in the form of a mighty wind and
tongues of fire.
Saints' Days - official days, recognized by
many Christians, especially Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican, celebrating
people who have lived particularly holy lives and are recognized as official
In addition, certain passages in an individual Christian's life
are marked by celebration and special services. These include Baptism or
birth into the Christian church; Confirmation, an
informed commitment to membership in the church; weddings; and funerals.