Can anyone tell me what are the major Christian festivals?

Which are the given government holidays and which are not?

  • Could you tell us which country and which tradition/denomination of Christianity you are asking about? – Nathaniel is protesting Dec 4 '15 at 12:24
  • There are few (if any) festivals which are not based on denominational tradition. Therefore, there are few (if any) which are universal across all of the Christian denominations which are celebrated the same way and on the same day. I agree with Nathaniel, you'll need to provide more information to narrow your scope. Since Christianity was a form of Judaism and Jesus intended to change Judaism opposed to start a new religion, I would suspect that many of the Jewish festivals were originally celebrated in the "early church". – The Freemason Dec 4 '15 at 13:16
  • Well I am in India, but I am asking for General Christian Country like the US – Karan Gandhi Dec 4 '15 at 13:46
  • I am asking for Roman Catholic tradition. – Karan Gandhi Dec 4 '15 at 13:48
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    There's no "general Christian country" when it comes to government holidays. In fact, even the US by itself is too broad: Good Friday is observed in 13 out of the 50 states. – Nathaniel is protesting Dec 4 '15 at 13:53

Christian festivals vary according to denomination, and whether they are government holidays depends very much on your country. However there are some major ones that most Christians celebrate.

The most widely celebrated are:

  1. Christmas Celebrated on December 25th, this celebrates the birth of Jesus. In almost all countries with a Christian heritage this is a public holiday, and most people in those countries celebrate at this time, even if they are not Christians. Note that this is unlikely to have been the actual day of Jesus birth, it was simply chosen as a day to celebrate it.
  2. Easter This is the day of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. The day on which it is celebrated varies, but is always a Sunday in March or April. Since it is a Sunday it is usually already a holiday in most countries with a Christian heritage. In some countries the following Monday is taken as a holiday.
  3. Good Friday. This is the day of Jesus' crucifixion, always two days before Easter. It's a holiday in many countries with Christian heritage.

After those three there is much more variation in celebration. Some festivals that might be celebrated include:

  1. Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th.
  2. All Saints Day, November 1st.
  3. Palm Sunday, one week before Easter.
  4. Feast of the Ascension, Thursday forty days after Easter
  5. Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, approximately six weeks before Easter. (More cultures celebrate the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, called 'Mardi Gras' in French, but most celebrations of that are not really Christian any more!)
  6. Whitsunday, or the Feast of Pentecost.

Some places also celebrate regional saints, such as Saint Patrick in Ireland or St. Jean Baptiste in Quebec, although these are often more regional than religious celebrations.

  • Mardi Gras is a Christian festival called Shrove Tuesday, when sins are shriven before Lent. "Mardi Gras" comes from using up food which should not be consumed in Lent (or at least, on Ash Wednesday) -- which is where the British custom of pancakes comes from: various things can be used as fillings. – Andrew Leach Dec 4 '15 at 22:01
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    @AndrewLeach I didn't want to get too much into what is a little-known Christian aspect to the festival. Safe to say that most Mardi Gras celebrations now owe virtually nothing to their Christian roots. – DJClayworth Dec 5 '15 at 0:46

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