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Liturgical Calendar and Feast Days

The Liturgical Year is an annual cycle of seasons and feasts that celebrates the Paschal Mystery, especially focusing on Christ's Death and Resurrection (Easter Cycle), and Birth (Christmas Cycle). The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "In the Liturgical Year the various aspects of the one Paschal mystery unfold. This is also the case with the cycle of feasts surrounding the mystery of the incarnation (Annunciation, Christmas, Epiphany). They commemorate the beginning of our salvation and communicate to us the first fruits of the Paschal mystery." (CCC 1171)

The celebration of the Liturgical Year is meant to draw the Catholic faithful into the Mystery of Christ, helping them to experience His divine life more fully and deeply. This includes remembering and celebrating the lives of the saints, especially Mary, the Mother of God: "By keeping the memorials of the saints - first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints - on fixed days of the Liturgical Year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven. She gives glory to Christ for having accomplished his salvation in his glorified members; their example encourages her on her way to the Father." (CCC 1195)

The Western and Eastern rites of the Catholic Church hold the major feast days and seasons in common, but differ on many of the solemnities and feasts. Below are the most important feast days, plus some of the feasts unique to the Eastern Catholic Churches.


2017-2018 Liturgical and Feast Days
*Holy Days of obligation
Pascha and the 12 Great Feasts
Includes Major Civil Holidays in the United States

In the Season of Pentecost
September 1: The Beginning of the Church Year
September 4: Labor Day (USA)
September 8: Feast of Nativity of the Mother of God
September 14: Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross
October 1: Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God
October 15: Sunday of the Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council
November 8: Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers

Preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord
November 15: Nativity Fast (Philip's Fast also known as Advent)
November 21: The Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple
November 23: Thanksgiving Day (USA)
December 6: St Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
December 8: Conception by Anne of the Most Holy Mother of God (Immaculate Conception)
December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Season of the Christmas cycle
*December 25: The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ Holy Day of Oblig.
December 26: Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God
January 1: Circumcision of Our Lord and the Memory of St. Basil the Great
*January 6: Theophany (Baptism) of Our Lord Holy Day of Obligation

Pre-Paschal Season
January 15: Martin Luther King Day (USA)
January 21: Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee
January 28: Sunday of the Prodigal Son
January 30: Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom
February 2: Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
February 3: First All-Souls Saturday
February 4: Sunday of Meat-Fare
February 11: Sunday of Cheese-Fare

The Great Fast
February 12: First Day of the Great Fast
February 18: First Sunday of the Great Fast (Sunday of Orthodoxy)
February 24: Second All-Souls Saturday
February 25: Second Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Gregory Palamas)
March 3: Third All-Souls Saturday
March 4: Third Sunday of the Great Fast (Veneration of the Holy Cross)
March 11: Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. John of the Ladder)
March 17: Akathistos Saturday
March 18: Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Mary of Egypt)

Holy Week
March 24: Saturday of Lazarus
March 25: Palm (Flowery) Sunday, Annuciation to the Mother of God
March 26: Great and Holy Monday
March 27: Great and Holy Tuesday
March 28: Great and Holy Wednesday
March 29: Great and Holy Thursday
March 30: Great and Holy Friday
March 31: Great and Holy Saturday
April 1: Pascha (Easter Sunday)

Paschal Season
Apr 1-8: Bright Week
April 8: Second Sunday of Pascha (Thomas Sunday)
April 15: Third Sunday of Pascha (Ointment-Bearing Women)
April 22: Fourth Sunday of Pascha (Healing of the Paralytic) Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius
April 29: Fifth Sunday of Pascha (Samaritan Woman)
May 6: Sixth Sunday Sunday of Pascha (Man Born Blind)
*May 10: Ascension of Our Lord, Thursday (40 days after Easter) Holy Day of Obligation
May 13: Seventh Sunday of Pascha (Fathers of the First Council)
May 19: Fifth All-Souls Saturday
May 20: Feast of Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter)
May 21: Feast of the Holy Trinity

Season of Pentecost
May 27: Sunday of All Saints
May 28 - June 28: The Apostles' Fast
May 28: Memorial Day (USA)
June 24: The Birth of John the Baptist
*June 29: Feast of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles   Holy Day of Obligation
July 4: Independence Day (USA)
July 15: Sunday of the Fathers of the First 6 Ecumenical Councils
July 20: Elijah Great Prophet (the Holy Prophet Elias)
August 1-14: Dormition Fast
August 6: Transfiguration of Our Lord
*August 15: Dormition of the Mother of God   Holy Day of Obligation
August 29: Beheading of John the Baptist


For a history and detailed explanation of the Christian liturgical calendar, see the " Christian Calendar " entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia.