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Christianity

Of all the religions, Christianity’s holidays are the most diverse. The life of Jesus Christ is the focus of most Christian holidays everywhere, but specific traditions can vary from country to country. Different sects of Christianity also may celebrate different holidays. For instance, each Catholic Saint has a feast day, and some of these feast days are widely celebrated amongst all Catholics. Other feast days are only celebrated in specific cities or by specific groups to honor their patron saint. None of these days are traditionally celebrated by Protestants. Orthodox Christians also have their own traditions, the most important one being that they often follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar, so even though they’re celebrating the same holidays, they fall on different dates about two weeks later. Celebrations also differ between Eastern and Western Christians, both of whom value different things Easter is probably the most consistent of the holidays.

Easter, along with Lent and Holy Week, are celebrated in similar ways all across the globe. This is partially because it is the oldest Christian holiday. It most likely evolved from the Jewish celebration of Passover, which happens at around the same time. Many other Christian holidays began the same way: with an old tradition the people didn’t want to give up. A lot of the Christian holidays the world is familiar with today were once pre-Christian festivals.

Christmas is another extremely popular Christian holiday, partially because of its commercialization in recent years. It has long been standard to have a gift-giving holiday in the winter season, but that holiday was not always Christmas. In some places, Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th is the day when children wait for Saint Nicholas to bring them presents. In other places, children believe that the three kings who brought gifts to Jesus after his birth deliver their gifts on Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day on January 6th. The western Christmas celebrations have recently spread around the world, so people in other countries now often exchange gifts on both Christmas and their traditional holiday.

 

Modernization has changed Christian holidays indefinitely. Since most of the holidays are not taken directly from the Bible, they are constantly evolving and growing new traditions. Recent years have seen even more changes with commercialization and the growing secularization of Western countries. Many Christian holidays are now celebrated even by non-Christians.