holy days of obligation fall during the Advent and Christmas seasons?
In the United States, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December
8, is a holy day of obligation. Mary is the patroness of the U.S.
under this title. The others are Christmas Day, December 25, and
Mary, Mother of God, January 1.
In years when January 1 falls on either Saturday (as it did in 2005) or Monday the obligation is lifted.
are the other feast days and holy days during the Christmas season?
In addition to Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Christmas and
Mary, Mother of God, Catholics celebrate:
- The Feast of the Holy Family, honoring Jesus, Mary and Joseph
as a family. It is celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas or
on December 30. When Christmas falls on Sunday, it is celebrated December 31.
- The Epiphany, the oldest of the Christmas feasts, is also known
as Three Kings Day for the three magi who found the Christ Child
after following a star to Bethlehem. It is celebrated on Jan.
6 and is the major holiday of the Christmas period in the Eastern
- The Baptism of Our Lord brings the Christmas season to a close.
It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Epiphany.
other saints are celebrated during this time?
The best-known saints remembered during this time are: St. Francis
Xavier (December 3); St. Nicholas (December 6); Blessed Juan Diego
(December 9); Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12); St. Lucy (December
13); St. John of the Cross (December 14); St. Stephen (December
26); St. John the Evangelist (December 27); the Holy Innocents (December
28); St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4).
St. Nicholas real?
St. Nicholas of Myra lived and acquired his reputation for sanctity
long before the Church began its formal process of beatification.
He became recognized as a saint by a kind of popular acceptance.
Historians and hagiographers generally write that much of what is
said about Nicholas is legend. Again, remember that at Nicholas's
time there were no investigation and authentication of claimed miracles
before canonization took place. Attributing miracles and wonders
to a person was an ancient way of expressing people's conviction
about the holiness of the person.
You will still find Nicholas listed in the various dictionaries
of saints, for example, Dictionary of Saints, by John Delaney
(Doubleday). And you will still find Nicholas listed in the Roman
Calendar on December 6. There he is assigned an optional memorial.
In other words, churches and communities on that day may choose
to celebrate either the liturgy in honor of St. Nicholas or the
liturgy for a weekday in Advent.
are the 12 days of Christmas?
The 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day (December 25) and
end on January 5, eve of the traditional date of the Epiphany.
is Little Christmas?
In the Spanish-speaking world, Christmas Day is strictly religious,
and gifts are exchanged on the feast of the Epiphany, when the wise
men (or Magi) brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the
are the names of the three kings?
Tradition names them Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar. The custom
of blessing homes on Epiphany developed because the feast commemorates
the time that the three kings visited the home of Jesus, Mary and
Joseph. Traditionally after the blessing, the initials of their
names were written in chalk on the back of the door. They were enclosed
by the year and connected by a cross in this way: 20+G+M+B+02.