The church’s year is made up of different seasons and observances. They have grown up over time to help Christians remember the foundations and key points of their faith.
The Church year begins in Advent (meaning ‘coming’), four Sundays before Christmas Day.
Christmas, celebrating the birth of Christ, is a fixed date, which means Advent varies in length.
Epiphany (meaning ‘revelation’) follows on 6 January. It commemorates the visit of the Magi (often called the Wise Men) to the infant Jesus. The season of Epiphany continues to reflect on the way God is revealed to the world.
Candlemas celebrates the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, forty days after his birth. It is therefore celebrated on 2 February.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. It is derived by counting back 47 days from Easter Day (40 days not including Sundays). Lent is a season of penitence, discipline and preparation, used originally by candidates preparing for baptism at Easter.
Easter is a ‘moveable feast’, which is now calculated by finding the first Sunday after the spring full moon. The Easter season lasts until Pentecost, and celebrates the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
Ascension Day commemorates the ascension of Christ into heaven, 40 days after Easter Day.
Pentecost means ‘50 days’ in Greek and comes from a Jewish harvest festival. It occurs 50 days after Easter, and commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit onto the disciples.
Trinity Sunday is the Sunday after Pentecost. Here the church reflects on God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons yet one God.
The rest of the year is called ‘ordinary time‘.
Throughout the year Saints days are also marked.