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Religious festivals, holy days, seasonal days of celebration, etc.

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Calendar Symbol  These days are variously called church calendar, ecclesiastical dates, fasting days, festivals, holy days, sabbats, days of observance and seasonal days of celebration, etc. 

Listed below is a wide variety of holy days from religions past and present. A few secular days are included as well. The list is intended to show the wide diversity of religious belief. It is based on the year 1997. We also have a list of holy days for the major religions followed in North America for the current year and for a few years in the future.

Some dates are fixed each year:

bulletChristmas is always on December 25 (among Protestant and Roman Catholic denominations); St. Valentine's day is on February 14.

Others vary slightly from year to year, depending upon the proximity to a leap year:

bulletWiccans, other Neo-Pagans and other aboriginal religions often celebrate:
bulletthe summer solstice in June when night time is shortest,
bulletthe winter solstice in December when night time is longest and/or
bulletthe equinoxes in March and September when day and night are both 12 hours long.

Because the earth takes about 365.26 days to circle the sun, the date and time of the solstices and equinoxes shift from year to year. They may occur on the 20, 21 or 23rd of the month.

bulletOther dates are computed according to a complex formula. The timing of Easter Sunday shows its pagan roots, being based upon Sun and Moon worship. It falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21, the nominal date of the Spring Equinox. It can fall on any date from March 22 to April 25th. The sequence is so complicated that it takes 5.7 million years to repeat a cycle. Eastern Orthodox churches sometimes celebrate Easter on the same day as the rest of Christianity. However if that date does not follow Passover, then the Orthodox churches delay their Easter - sometimes by over a month.

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List of religious festivals and holy days:

bulletJanuary to June
bulletJuly to December

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Copyright © 1997 & 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2001-DEC-2
Author: B.A. Robinson

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Go to the previous page, or the Basic religious information menu, or the Religious practices menu, or choose:

Web ReligiousTolerance.org

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