Other holy days and celebrations
Festivals are a distinctive part of all religions and through its festivals Christianity is able to plot a calendar for the religious year. Many churches follow a lectionary based around the Christian year, using relevant scriptures for that period, and thus helping the community to grow in knowledge of the faith in a consistent manner. Over a period of time the lectionary ensures that all of the Bible is read and considered.
Festivals also hold a place in the public imagination of most cultures, and for Christian communities they help to bind the community – both participating Christians, and non-active Christians, including secularised post-Christians, families and individuals- all united into a community of common purpose. Although for many people in the UK these festivals have become extremely secularised, their continuation nevertheless indicates the deep and lasting impact of religion on our history.
Most Christian fasts and festivals are centred around the life of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels. The principle festivals are Christmas which is preceded by Advent, Easter which is preceded by Lent and Passion Week, and Whit Sunday or Pentecost, fifty days after Easter Sunday. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, Easter remembers the death and resurrection of Jesus, and Whitsun marks the giving of the Holy Spirit to the church.