Within Christianity, the year is broken into distinct seasons. These seasons fall into what is known as the liturgical year or the church year. The seasons within the church year each emphasize different themes and practices, but they also highlight different aspects of Jesus’ life and the life of faith that we are all living into.
Like any calendar, the church calendar shows important days and events that the church celebrates. Some seasons are short, like Christmas, which is only twelve days. Other seasons are longer, lasting around twenty-five weeks.
Each season has its own colour, and we use those colours in our worship spaces and on the paraments and vestments (altar cloths and clothes that the worship leaders wear during worship services) to add symbolism to each season.
People naturally order their lives in various ways. We measure our work days, the week follows a certain order, we mark special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, the school year, etc. The church uses the liturgical calendar to give shape and direction to the life of faith. It sets a rhythm that helps to tell the story of God, who acts in our lives in different ways at different times.
The seasons of the church year are:
Advent - (begins between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3 each year)
Christmas - (Dec. 25 to Jan. 5)
The Season After Epiphany - (Jan. 6 until the Sunday before Ash Wednesday)
Lent - (begins between Feb. 4 and Mar. 10 each year)
Holy Week - (the week before Easter)
Easter - (between Mar. 22 and Apr. 25 each year)
The Season After Pentecost - (begins between May 10 and June 13 each year)