The most holy of Christian holidays. The day celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his death by crucifixion. Christians observe Easter by having morning worship services, special music, feasting, and parades.
This was the night before Jesus' crucifixion. He had the Passover meal with his disciples. He showed them that He came to be a servant by washing their feet. This tradition is still practiced today in some churches.
Holy week recounts the last week Jesus spent on earth. It starts with Palm Sunday. On this day Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. He was greeted by crowds who welcomed him as their king, shouting "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
The Easter season begins with Lent. Lent is the forty day period leading up to Easter. It is a time when Christians reflect on the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the wilderness.
During this time he was tempted by the devil. Christians follow Jesus' example of resisting temptation by fasting or giving up something they love during Lent such as meat, chocolate and alcohol.
This is the first day of Lent. It is forty days before Good Friday. It is a day of penitence to clean the soul before the Lent fast. Roman Catholic, Anglican, and some other churches have services in which worshipers are marked with ashes.
The use of ashes, made by burning palm crosses from the previous Palm Sunday, is very symbolic symbol of death, and sorrow for sin.
Christians celebrate Epiphany 12 days after Christmas. It celebrates the visit of the three wise men to see Jesus when he was an infant. They presented symbolic gifts to Jesus:
- · Gold as a symbol of Jesus' Kingship.
- · Frankincense as a symbol of his role as a priest.
- · Myrrh as a symbol of his future suffering (death
on the cross).
Although the actual date of Jesus birth is not known, most Christians celebrate it on December 25th. This date was chosen by the church because the church wanted to replace a popular winter pagan holiday that was celebrated around the same time.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by:
Worshiping at church services
- · Exchanging of gifts
- · Having parties
- · Decorating their homes
- · Caroling
In most churches, the Bible readings and the sermons during Christmas season concern the event surrounding the birth of Christ.
The Christian festival calendar begins in late November. Advent is the period leading up to Christmas when Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. During Advent, Christians celebrate and look back on three events:
- · The coming of Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist.
- · The coming of Jesus into the world as a baby.
- · The second coming of Jesus which Christians
look forward to in the future.
Advent starts on the closest Sunday to November 30th. On the four Sundays of Advent candles are lit in many churches.