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This essay is about how Christians celebrate religious festivals and why they continue to celebrate these today.

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Introduction

This essay is about how Christians celebrate religious festivals and why they continue to celebrate these today. The church year is called the liturgical year, which begins with Advent, and it has many liturgical seasons. Each season has one or more religious festivals. Festivals are celebrations to remember the important events in Jesus' life. There are three cycles in the Christian year, these are; (i) The Christmas cycle begins with Advent , a period of preparation prior to Christmas Day, December 25th, when Jesus was born. On January 6th is the Epiphany. (ii) The Easter Cycle - This is the most important cycle. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, people receive ashes on their forehead in mass. Lent is a 40 day period before Easter, commemorative of the 40 days Jesus went into the desert. This reflective preparation ends with Holy week, containing contrasting important days, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. (iii) Whitsun Cycle , the least important of the three cycles, begins with Ascension day which is 40 days after Jesus' resurrection at Easter. ...read more.

Middle

People attend Midnight mass (Vigil) on Christmas Eve, preparing for the coming of Jesus. The service may be held earlier due to inconveniences. On Christmas morning it is traditional to open presents, a sign of 'love thy neighbour' or Jesus being put on Earth as a gift from God. Schools perform the nativity play, telling the story of Jesus' birth. It is a dramatisation of the Christmas Crib, modelling Jesus in the stable surrounded by animals , angels, Mary and Joseph etc. Pantomimes hold the theme of good conquering evil. A saviour will always come, which represents Jesus. The Epiphany occurs on January 6th,the time when the wise men (Magi) gave Jesus the gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh . The Easter Cycle begins with Ash Wednesday (Lent). The day before people would eat luxurious food to prepare for fasting. Ash Wednesday marks the dawn of repenting and reflection, thinking of Jesus and the crucifixion. Preparations are made by reading the Bible, fasting or doing good works for such things as charities. ...read more.

Conclusion

In mass, the passing of the paschal candle represents Jesus as the light of the world. An international tradition is receiving eggs , that are sent to people as a symbol of new life in Spring and Jesus. To rejoice, people meet family members, possibly for a pub lunch. The Holy Spirit came onto the apostles and gave them 7 gifts on Whitsun. We traditionally receive confirmation, the coming of the Spirit, to commemorate this incredulous promise from Jesus. Whit Walks are also held, when people march around the streets to sing the praises of the Spirit. Christians should pray for courage for life. People celebrate festivals to remember Jesus' life. Special things are done in accordance to the different celebrations. It is important to carry on these traditions to remember the fundamental meaning of our faith, Jesus. Other people celebrate festivals to have a good time, which is almost as important as the religious aspect. In conclusion, festivals can be celebrated in many different ways, publicly or privately. No specific rule tells you how to celebrate these reminiscent occasions of Jesus life, so thousands of celebrations take place in several denominations. ...read more.

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