The Liturgical Calendar: Special Holidays

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This week I’ve tried to introduce you to the major seasons of the liturgical year, but there are many, many smaller holidays or “feast days” that are part of the church calendar.  Once you feel comfortable with the major movements of the year, you might want to start researching some of these other holidays to add into your family celebrations.  Here are just a few places to start:

Pentecost (50 days after Easter)

This is quite an important holiday to be on this page of “secondary” celebration days, but I ran out of room on my Easter post. (Also I am not sure if Pentecost is considered the last day of Easter or the first day of Ordinary Time.  Maybe someone can inform me?)  Pentecost occurs 50 days after Easter and celebrates the day the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in Jerusalem.  You can be really bold and celebrate this day with sparklers or other adult-supervised fun with fire (s’mores, anyone?).  Or, you can play it safe and just decorate with red and orange for the day.  Crank up some peppy praise and worship music and try one of these crafts!  You might also consider making various kinds of ethnic foods for dinner and talking about the gospel being preached to the nations.

Reformation Day (October 31)

October 31 is the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg.  So while you put the final touches on Halloween costumes, maybe sing along to “A Mighty Fortress is our God” and tell your kids about some noteworthy reformers.  (If you’re not into celebrating Halloween anyway, this can be a great opportunity for an alternative theme party.  Here are a bunch of fun ideas for a gloriously nerdy party. But do consider your clientele and adjust the intensity of your theme appropriately.)

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Do we know how to have fun, or what?

Saint Nicholas Day (December 6)

As part of your Advent observance, have some fun on this day with the story of Saint Nicholas.  (Warning: when you tell your kids that they are about to hear the story of the”real” Santa Claus, they might deduce out that the Jolly Old Elf version is not real, so take that into consideration if you are a pro-Santa family.)  You can celebrate this holiday with a traditional treat of gingerbread cake, or surprise your kids with gold coin candies in their shoes in remembrance of Nicholas’s most famous act of generosity.  Saint Nicholas is known for his kindness and compassion, so service projects (especially those that benefit children) would also be a great way to celebrate this day.  (For further reading: Ideas for the Home, Even More Tips and Links, and this post from the 31 Days series “Keeping Advent.”)

Saint Valentine’s Day (February 14)

I love celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family anyway, so this is an easy sell for me.  Add to the day’s celebration by telling this inspiring story of selfless love over your heart-shaped pancakes.

Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17)

More than green beer and pinches, this day is a golden opportunity to talk about the man who brought the gospel to Ireland (I’m sorry for the joke; I couldn’t resist).  If you need a quick tutorial on the man behind the legends, here is a quick biographical sketch, and a video from the Gospel Coalition.

Keep Reading: Meet the Teacher: John Baillie

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2 responses to “The Liturgical Calendar: Special Holidays

  1. I lived in Spain for a year during college (study abroad) and I really liked their tradition of celebrating their saints days, basically it was like a second birthday on the day of the saint that they were named after (except all the presents were sort of religious in nature) but they still had a special meal, etc. Even if you weren’t named after a saint, there’s probably a saint that shares your name!

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