I am joyful to also
include some of the holy days, periods, and festivals of the ancestors of Jesus of Nazareth, our
spiritual ancestors, and our brothers and sisters who are Christian, "messianic" Jews. The Orthodox
Church Christians (see The Church) use the old Julian calendar to set important event dates; others
use the modern Gregorian calendar.
- Sabbath: The Holy day. Every 7th day (Saturday) of each week
(Shabbat) for the Jew and every 1st day of each week (Sunday...because Jesus resurrected on the
1st day& breathed the Holy Spirit onto the disciples to send them on ministry on the 1st
day) for the Christian. A regularly set-aside day of rest and worship. (Exodus 20:8, Leviticus
- New Year's Day: 1st of
Jan...8 days after Jesus born: circumcision (covenant) and naming as Jesus (Luke
Season: Eight days after Jesus was born (Jan.
2nd, 4 days before the epiphany), Jesus was circumcised according to Jewish custom.
Modern circumcision in the USA is bloodless. But 2000 years ago, Jesus first shed blood as
His human aspect when He was circumcised. Three decades
later, He would shed blood as the Savior of mankind. By convention, epiphany
begins 12 days after Jesus was born (6 Jan. [hence the custom of the
Twelve Days of Christmas]), to (1) celebrate the visit of the Magi...the first gentiles to
recognize & worship Jesus, the Savior of mankind (Matthew 2:1) & to celebrate
the day of John's baptism (Luke 3:21-22) of Jesus as a young teenager on which day the
miracle of Theophany (Theo-fania in Greek) or “the revelation of God” occurred. When Christ was
baptized, the one and all-mighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, for the first time revealed
Himself to mankind as Three Persons: (a) God the Father – by His voice;
(b) God the Son – by His
baptism in the river Jordan & God expressing pleasure in Jesus & calling Him His Son;
and (c) the Holy Spirit – by descending in the form of a dove. Following the Magi visit
(with Herod desiring to kill any newly born "king"), Joseph & Mary took
Jesus & fled to Egypt until Herod died.
- Orthodox & Coptic
Christmas: In Dec. 2002, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak declared Jan. 7th to be the
Egyptian (Coptic) Christian's Christmas day, the Orthodox (Greek, Russian, "eastern")
- Lent Season: It is
IMPORTANT that the focus be on (1) who (Jesus) and
(2) why (died to pay the sin penalty for all mankind) & NOT just on
what the church person is "giving up for Lent". Might the contemplation time also focus
strongly on, "What can I do from here on to reflect Jesus better?...to promote the
truth of Jesus better?" Beginning about 400 AD, the 40 (not counting Sundays) day period
of penitence ending on the day of crucifixion. Maybe
the 40 days is akin to the 40 days Jesus contemplatively spent in the wilderness prior to the
onset of His ministry. "Lent" is a middle-English word meaning "springtime" or "growth". It is
a seriously reflective period of trying to put away the "flesh"...a time of contemplating sin
in one's life. It is a period to especially say, "I'm sorry, Lord, so sorry I have continued to
sin against you!" Some fast at various times and others try to convert to more simple eating.
In olden times, the meat, butter, and eggs were "used up" before Ash Wednesday & done
without during Lent and often lead to a celebratory "last gulp" of "fat Tuesday" feasting:
"Shrove Tuesday" (the word "shrove" is a past tense of the English verb
"shrive," which means, by confessing and doing penance...shriving, to obtain absolution for
one's sins. Other cultures call it Mardi Gras, Fasching, or Carnival (Latin for "farewell to
meat"). Tuesday ends at midnight to begin that 40 day penance time, as the first day of Lent is
"Ash Wednesday" ("from ashes you came and to ashes you shall return"...Genesis
3:19). Ash Wednesday is celebrated by some churches by making a mixture of oil and ashes from,
say, the burned palm leaves from the previous year's Easter service or materials related to the
Shrove Tuesday eating event. The pastor dips a finger into the mixture and draws a small ash
cross on the forehead of the believer.
In churches which observe the period of Lent, it is a season of individual
and church-wide seriousness, soberness, and reflection of the upcoming remembrance of God's
sacrifice of Jesus (& Jesus' willingness) on the cross that all have a way to eternal
salvation. Believers often give up something for Lent as a penitential help to keep focused on
the meaning of this incredible sacrifice. Especially when they fail, it is a reminder that we
all need a Savior.
Huge pagan festival perversions of gluttony
& debauchery ( such as the Mardi Gras..."fat Tuesday"...of New Orleans and Carnival
of Brazil) may lead up to the eve of Lent.
- Easter week
(Pascha for Orthodox): "Easter"...the joyful celebration of the act that reconciled a
sinful mankind to a Holy God. Old Testament prophecy had to be fulfilled in all detail;
so, all "players" were part of that fulfillment, and none should be condemned. If anyone is "at
fault" for the death of Jesus, it is mankind (which includes you & me). A quote, "Easter
says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there." Neither the Romans, the Jews, or
any other group or army could arrest Jesus and put him on the Cross...nor did the nails keep
Him on the cross: it was His love for mankind and love of and
obedience to His Father that took Him to the cross & held Him there (Matthew 26:53-54; John
[date calculators & history]
- Palm Sunday
(Sunday of the Passion): The Sunday preceding Easter Sunday...in remembrance that
Jesus entered Jerusalem on that day, on the back of a humble colt, the road strewn with palm
leaves by joyous on-looking followers (John 12:12-19). He pauses at the Mount of Olives, views Jerusalem across the small Kidron valley and weeps. Between Sunday & Thursday, he otherwise went by foot back and forth to Bethany (the home of Lazarus, 2 miles from Jerusalem).
- Monday: Jesus returns to Jerusalem and the Temple and turns over the tables of the money changers for a second time. The powers that be are becoming more worried. Again, he went by foot back and forth to Bethany to the home of Lazarus, 2 miles from Jerusalem.
- Tuesday: Jesus returned to Jerusalem & back to the Temple. He is seriously confronted by tyhe religious authorities & outwits them. On the way back to the home of Lazarus in Bethany, 2 miles from Jerusalem, he stops for reflective time at the Mount of Olives. He lets his disciples know that, because of him, they will all die in due time. Judas wants no part of this.
- Wednesday: Jesus uses this day to rest at the home of Lazarus in Bethany 2 miles from Jerusalem. They eat supper at the home of Simon the leper. Judas Iscariot makes his decision and rebels openly when Lazarus' sister, Mary, annointed the head of Jesus with the very expensive perfume, nard. Jesus rebukes Judas, and Judas leaves & goes to the home of the high priest, Caiaphas to cut a deal to betray Jesus. Then he returns to Lazarus' home for the remainder of the night.
Thursday: Commandment (Maundy) Thursday...in memory of "The Last Supper" (the 1st
Lord's Supper of the church) which occurred the evening prior to the crucifixion of Jesus (Luke
22:14-23)...during which He did foot washing (John 13:1-17)...and with much discourse (John
chapters 13-17). The meal was in the lower city on the second floor of a building near the Pool of Siloam. Near meal's end, Jesus lets Judas know that he knows that Judas is bent on betrayal; Judas leaves. They leave this area and Jerusalem and stop at the Mount of Olives. Jesus prays some three times in the Garden of Gethsemane, the last time even undergoing an intense anxiety reaction of sweating blood (hematihidrosis). And he was arrested there late that night (John 18:12) and taken during the night to
Caiaphas (John 18-19). Latin for commandment is "maundy", and Jesus gave a new commandmen John
Friday: this designation is likely from the old English "Godes Friday" ("God's
Friday...in much the same way that the saying, "goodbye" is a contraction of the old term, "God
be with you". Just past midnight, very early into Friday, a pack of Temple guards is lead by Judas to confront and capture Jesus. It is the day of the reconciliation-price payment...Friday. That day (John
18:28), He was brought before the Roman leader Pilate...flogged (John 19:1)...at "the 6th hour"
(11-12AM). He was sentenced to be crucified (John 19:4-16)... the day on which "The Lamb of
God's" blood was spilt (John 19:34) during His (Jesus') crucifixion. He died about the "9th
hour"...2-3PM (Matthew 27:45-50). Death on the cross occurred on the 14th day of Nissan,
the day of the Feast of Passover...exactly parallel to the lamb blood which had to be painted
over the door of the Israelites in Egypt the evening prior to the Exodus of the Jews...their
rescue, their deliverance, their salvation...from Egypt, protected by "the blood". In the
greatest love blessing ever
on mankind, God willed that the blood of Jesus was spilt for the "good" (the atonement and
salvation) of mankind. A Good Friday (or Saturday) Tenebrae service symbolizes the darkness
that fell (Luke 23:44-45) on the face of the earth while the Son (Sun) of justice was hung upon
the cross, and it is a darkening of the church sanctuary toward the end of that particular
church service [tenebrae = Latin word for "shadows"].
- Passover: Passover (Pesach) Day...begins at sundown on Good
Friday and ends at sundown of Shabbat, and that Shabbat begins the week-long Feast or Festival
of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:4-8) in memory of the Egyptian Passover (Exodus 12:1-30)
resulting in the Israelite race-saving exodus from Egypt and the unleavened bread they ate that
evening (Exodus 12:14-20). The feast began on the 15th day of Nissan, the day after Jesus on
Calvary. The feast is otherwise also known as Spring Festival and Festival of the Paschal
Saturday: the day after Good Friday and the first day of 7 days of Jewish Feast of
Sunday: the Sunday following the Passover Friday, the day of the resurrection of
Jesus...as the first fruit of the resurrection...from death in the tomb (John 20). It is the
1st Sunday following the ecclesiastical full moon which occurs on or next after March 21st.
That Sunday of the weekend of the death of Jesus, the Jewish Feast of First Fruits started (was
on the 16th day of Nissan...the very day Jesus arose)! [ dating, military site]
- Next Sunday
after Easter: some call it "Doubting Thomas Sunday". Thomas would not believe
the resurrection until he put his hand into Jesus' side. John ends that chapter by declaring
that Jesus is the Messiah...the Christ (John 20:24-31).
Annunciation, March 25th: If Jesus was born December 25th, then the angel Gabriel
would have announced pending Jesus' birth to Mary on about this date 9 months prior to
- Ascension Day:
celebrates...40 days after Easter Sunday...the day, after having appeared resurrected to the
disciples (and over 500 other witnesses), the disciples witnessed Jesus' ascension up into the
clouds/sky (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:3) back to Heaven. Whitsunday is the Sunday
- Pentecost: from the
great festival of the grain harvest (Shavout)...the day of the Feast of Harvest...at the end of
the 7 weeks following Passover Friday. For the Jews, this seven week period is the Feast of
Weeks, in celebration of the giving of The Law by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai. For the Christian,
Pentecost (Greek, "50th day") refers to the particular Pentecost festival 50 days following
Passover & subsequently also the resurrection of Jesus, at which time the Holy Spirit began
the process of personally coming to, and indwelling (baptizing), each believer (Acts 2:1-4). Now, we celebrate
Pentecost Sunday as the seventh Sunday following Easter Sunday; some Christian churches refer
to that celebration Sunday as Whitsunday.
- Trinity Season: also
called the Pentecost Season. Goes for months from Pentecost to Advent and intends plenty of
time for study and contemplation on The Trinity: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. It
includes Reformation Day, 31 October and All Saints Day,
- Rosh Hashanah: is the
Jewish New Year and the start of their Ten Days of Penitence.
- Feast of Trumpets: is on
the first day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar and originally was a special day of
rest (Leviticus 23:23-25). It currently remembers the prophecy of the re-gathering of the Jews
in their promised land which began in 1948 after their scattering in 70
- Yom Kippur: is the sacred
Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32) on the 10th day of the seventh month of the Jewish
- Feast of Tabernacles: the
Sukkot is for 7 days, beginning on the 15th day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, in
memory of the type of dwellings they used during the 40 years in the wilderness upon their
exodus from Egyptian slavery (Leviticus 23:33-36).
- All Saints Sunday: the
Sunday immediately following the first day of November, the first day of November being All Saints Day, HERE.
- Thanksgiving Sunday: the
Sunday immediately following USA Thanksgiving Day, the 4th Thursday in
- Christ the King
Sunday: this is the last Sunday of the Trinity or Pentecost Season & the
Sunday just before the first Sunday of Advent. Since it is the day for proclamation of Jesus as
our King, one would think that it would rank with Christmas
- Advent Season: Advent
("the coming") begins with the 4th Sunday prior to Christmas Day; a joyful period of
anticipation of the coming birth of Jesus. A season of gifts and new things and somewhat
opposite of the humbling-down of the Lent Season.
- Christmas Day: The day of
celebrating and honoring the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ (the long-awaited
Messiah...divinity cloaked in humanity)...by convention, 25 December.That date was chosen during the reign of Roman
emperor Constantine. As he made Christianity the religion of the empire, the anual conclusion of of an orgiastic pagan holiday time known as Saturnalia was on that date. Christanity was predominantly under catholicism. As the lascivious ways of those times was set aside, Dec. 25th was made the date of "Christ's Mass", the day of commemoration of the birth of the Savior of mankind. But, based on the discription of "shepherd's abiding in their fields" and the star over Bethlehem (Researchers have found Chinese wrirings indicating a star in the west [looking west from China] that was present 70 days in what would have been March of 5 B. C. if scholars have a fully correct means of transdlating dates from culture to culture over the past 3000 years), the actual date of birth of Jesus may have been in the spring time.
check out the Highest
[posted 20 February 1999; latest
addition/modification 17 November 2013)