The primary Christian holidays that most denominations celebrate nowadays are:
- Ash Wednesday
- Good Friday
Keep in mind that Christian holidays can typically be categorized as feast days and fast days, depending on what the focus of the particular holiday is.
Here’s the difference between the two:
- Feast days – This is when Christians celebrate glorious and joyful events like the birth of Jesus Christ.
- Fast days – These are days where Christians are to focus on repentance and self-reflection.
To give you a better idea of what the Christian holidays are about, in this article we’ll cover the following topics:
- The 7 most common Christian holidays.
- The days that are considered holy according to the Bible.
The 7 Most Common Christian Religious Holidays
Now here are the 7 most common and widespread Christian holidays in the world:
1. Advent (Advent Sunday)
Advent or Advent Sunday marks the beginning of the Christian year (December 1st-December 25th) and it’s precisely 4 Sundays before one of the most important Christian holidays – Christmas.
The word Advent comes from “adventus” (meaning coming in Latin) and it’s a time for believers to contemplate the first coming of Jesus. The primary theme of this holiday is to prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
In some churches and denominations, Advent is observed by lighting the 1st of 5 candles as the last one is being lit on Christmas day to represent Jesus as the light of the world.
2. Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, which marks the 40-day period prior to Easter, which is when some Christian denominations employ giving up on ordinary pleasures, including not eating meat on Ash Wednesday.
On this particular Wednesday, some churches (mainly Catholics) have a tradition of using ash to mark a cross on the forehead of believers.
However, the Bible doesn’t mention Ash Wednesday although there are Biblical records related to the custom of putting ashes as a sign of penitence such as Job who repents in dust and ashes.
Christmas is one of the most profound holidays for Christians as it’s all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin in a stable in the town of Bethlehem, Israel.
Although Easter is definitely more significant for Christians, Christmas is quite important and popular due to its social significance in modern culture.
Gifts and presents aside, Christmas is a time for spiritual reflection on vital aspects of Christian life and faith, while also being an important holiday from a theological standpoint.
3. Christmas (Birth of Jesus)
Despite some pagan practices that have infiltrated this holiday, in its purest form Easter remains the most crucial and vital type of Christian holiday.
This is when believers celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection after He was crucified by defeating death and hell (Revelation 1:18).
Despite the fact that the exact date of Easter is determined by the Gregorian calendar each year, what’s truly important is taking your time to reflect on the salvation, redemption and the second coming of Jesus that we’re all waiting.
Because Christ suffered once for our sins to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18) and so that we might have everlasting life through faith in Him (John 3:16).
5. Good Friday
Good Friday is the Friday right before Easter Sunday and it marks the day on which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was crucified in Golgotha.
Although sorrow and mourning are typically associated with this holiday due to the sacrificial death of Christ, it’s a precious reminder of our sinful nature and how we all need to put our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Think of Good Friday as a day of gratitude and appreciation of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for our sin. Also note that depending on the specific denomination, fasting and not consuming any meat is part of observing Good Friday.
Lent is a Christian holiday that that’s typically associated with Catholicism. It starts on the 7th Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) prior to Easter Sunday because the 40 days leading up to Easter don’t include Sundays.
The main concept behind Lent is self-denial, which usually includes fasting that is meant to remind Christians of Jesus Christ’s temptations and fasting for 40 days in the desert.
However, certain churches such as Evangelicals abstain from such Lent-related practices due to their Catholic roots.
Thanksgiving is an annual Christian holiday, despite shifting more towards being a somewhat secular contemporary family gathering event in recent times.
However, thanksgiving still sits of Christian foundations as its roots go back to the English reformation where in the 1620s the thanksgiving tradition was born.
Back then, Puritans began celebrating days of feasting and fasting at the end of the fall harvest. This was done as a sign of appreciation for how the Lord provides for us as He promised He will in Matthew 6.
Nowadays, the Evangelical church has reinterpreted this particular celebration, which puts an emphasis on thanking our Heavenly Father for having an abundance of what we really need
Honorable Mention: Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is directly related to Lent as it’s the last Sunday of Lent and it kicks off the Holy Week as a commemoration of how Christ entered into Jerusalem at the end of His earthly ministry.
As part of observing Palm Sunday, some churches even spread palm branches outside of the sanctuary.
It’s Called Palm Sunday Due to How Jesus Was Greeted Into Jerusalem
The Gospels reveal that when Christ was riding a donkey into Jerusalem He was greeted by a huge crowd who proclaimed His eternal glory as they spread palm branches on the ground before the King of Kings.
The Days That are Considered Holy in the Bible
In Leviticus 23:1-2 God reveals specific days (feasts of the Lord) that are holy convocations that believers should observe. Here they are:
- Feast of unleavened bread
- Feast of trumpets
- Day of atonement
- Feast of tabernacles
- The last great day
Interestingly, the Bible doesn’t mention not having to observe these holidays anymore.
On the contrary, the New Testament shows us that these holy days were still observed as revealed in Acts 18:21 for example.
While there’s no record of the early New Testament church observing modern holidays that are typically associated with Christianity such as Easter and Christmas
The most popular holidays related to Christianity in today’s day and age are:
- Ash Wednesday
- Good Friday
But despite the vast popularity of these festivals and events, most of them have pagan roots and ancient polytheistic origins.
This is clearly a problem for true Bible-believing Christians.
Thus, we have to carefully use discernment from the Holy Spirit and the Living Word of God (the Bible) to ensure that we don’t willingly partake in pagan rituals and practices.
Appreciating what Jesus did on the cross for us and giving all praise to Him always is definitely something that we need to do.
However, diving into dubious customs and traditions that involve weird non-Biblical rituals is a big no-no for any genuine believer.