Christians follow the life and teachings of Jesus, also called Christ. Christianity shares its roots and some religious texts with Judaism. Jesus was born a Jew. His followers spread Christianity after his death. It is the world’s largest religion. There are many denominations, traditions, and churches within Christianity. Three main branches of the faith are Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant. Both Old and New Testaments guide followers in their spiritual quest. Christians believe in one God, the Holy Trinity and the divinity of Christ. Adherents follow either the Julian or Gregorian calendars; the dates for many significant days in Christianity differ depending on which calendar is followed.
*We recognize that many holy days begin at sundown the day prior to the marked observance. Because the preceding days have not been recognized in all faiths in this calendar, Christmas Eve has not been included.
All Saints Day
All Saints Day is a feast to honour all Christian saints (both known and unknown) throughout the ages.
This day is the first day of Lent, the forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter.
This day celebrates the birth of Jesus. No one knows the exact date of Christ's birth, but Christians following Gregorian calendar observe Christmas on December 25. This day is celebrated by attending church to take part in special religious services and also exchange gifts with family and friends. Homes are decorated with lights, holly, mistletoe and Christmas trees. Christians following Julien calendar observe the holyday in January. Christmas is a statutory holiday in Canada.
This marks the first day of Lent according to the Julian calendar; it is the first of 40 days of prayer, repentance, and self-denial leading up to Easter.
This day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus and special church services are held in celebration. While its origins are religious, many Easter customs have more to do with celebrating the beginning of spring, including: painting eggs in bright colours and pretty designs, Easter egg hunts, and the giving and receiving chocolate Easter bunnies.
Easter Monday is the day following Easter and is celebrated as a holiday by followers of Christianity. Celebrations differ depending on followers’ country of origin. Egg rolling competitions and dousing each other with water are examples of the traditional celebrations. It is a federal holiday for government employees.
This is the second festival celebrating the manifestation of Jesus as Christ, the first being the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas). The Western Churches associate Epiphany with the journey of the Magi to the infant Jesus, while the Orthodox Churches look to the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.
First Day of Advent
The first Sunday of Advent is the period of preparation for Christmas. Please note that the dates are different for the Gregorian and the Julian calendars.
Christmas or winter fast is the Lenten Season observed from Nov. 15 up to Dec. 24. The followers of the Gregorian calendar begin their fast from Dec. 1st . It is a period of fasting, praying and reflecting – in preparation and anticipation of the coming of Christ and Christmas. The followers of the revised Julian calendar begin their fast from Nov. 28th and observe it over a 40 day period.
This day commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and is a day of mourning for Christians. During special Good Friday services, Christians reflect on Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, and what this means for their faith. This is a statutory holiday in Ontario.
"The Feast of Nayrouz" celebrates the Coptic New Year, which is the first calendar known to humans, dating back to 4241 B.C.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for the past 400+ years and holds religious significance for the followers of the Christian faith. In 153 BC, the Roman senate declared Jan.1 the beginning of the New Year. This holiday was first observed in Babylon 4,000 years ago. Celebrations include making of resolutions for the year to come, parties on the evening of Dec. 31, and a toast at midnight when the New Year officially begins. On New Year's Day itself, many people watch football games, parades and spend the day with family and friends. Followers of Orthodox Christianity celebrate the New Year's Day on Jan. 14 based on the Julian calendar.
Pentecost is often referred to as “The Birthday of the Church” and falls on the 50th day after Easter. This day commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples. It is traditional for baptisms and confirmation of new Christians to occur on this day.