Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Long is Christmas Anyway?

Here is a Liturgical Christmas Cheat Sheet (from Catholic Icing website)
~December 24–Christmastide or Christmas Season, begins at the first Christmas Vigil Mass.
~December 25–Birth of Jesus.
~December 25 to January 1–(Octave of Christmas) the 8 days of Christmas when we feast and celebrate most.
~January 1–Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God (Holy Day of Obligation). Also the Feast of the Circumcision (Jesus’ circumcision and naming 8 days after His birth –Genesis 17:10-12).
~December 25 through January 5 –“Twelve Days of Christmas” that lead up to Epiphany.
~Twelfth Night–night before Epiphany.
~January 6–Epiphany. Three Kings arrive to see baby Jesus (usually moved to the closest Sunday in U.S.).
~January 13–Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Octave of Epiphany).
~The day after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Church returns to ordinary time.
~February 2–Presentation of the Lord, also referred to as Candlemas, is about Mary’s presentation in the temple for Purification.  Presentation of Jesus to Simeon (and profecy of Simeon) also occurred, but ritual was about the mother.  (The Vatican leaves its tree and nativity up until February 2nd.)  Many families celebrate Christmas up until this date.  Note that December 25 through February 2 is a period of 40 days.  (Also, see “Churching of Women” for more information on blessing for new mothers)

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