Ash Wednesday is a holy day of prayer and fasting in many Western Christian denominations. It is preceded by Shrove Tuesday and marks the first day of Lent, the six weeks of penitence before Easter.
Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, the night before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, simple living and self-denial. This season is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, Reformed, United Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches. Some Anabaptist, Baptist and nondenominational Christian churches also observe Lent.
Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus Christ, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
Palm Sunday is the Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels. Its name originates from the palm branches waved by the crowd to greet and honor Jesus as he entered the city. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week; in Western Christianity, this is the beginning of the last week of the solemn season of Lent, preceding Eastertide, while in Eastern Christianity, Holy Week commences after the conclusion of Great Lent.
Passover, also called Pesach, is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, which occurs on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the first month of Aviv, or spring. The word Pesach or Passover can also refer to the Korban Pesach, the paschal lamb that was offered when the Temple in Jerusalem stood; to the Passover Seder, the ritual meal on Passover night; or to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. One of the biblically ordained Three Pilgrimage Festivals, Passover is traditionally celebrated in the Land of Israel for seven days and for eight days among many Jews in the Diaspora, based on the concept of yom tov sheni shel galuyot. In the Bible, the seven-day holiday is known as Chag HaMatzot, the feast of unleavened bread (matzoh).
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many countries, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season organized around it.
The Israʾ and Miʿraj are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islam, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year AD 621. Within Islam, it signifies both a physical and spiritual journey. A brief sketch of the story is in the 17th chapter of the Quran, called al-Isra', while greater detail is found in the hadith; later collections of the reports, teachings, deeds and sayings of Muhammad.
Eid al-Fitr is the earlier of the two official holidays celebrated within Islam. The religious holiday is celebrated by Muslims worldwide because it marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. It falls on the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar; this does not always fall on the same Gregorian day, as the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities. The holiday is known under various other names in different languages and countries around the world. The day is also called Lesser Eid, or simply Eid.
Holy Week in Christianity is the week just before Easter. It is also the last week of Lent, in the West, - Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday - are all included. However, Easter Sunday, which begins the season of Eastertide, is not. Although, traditions observing the Easter Triduum may overlap or displace part of Holy Week or Easter itself within that additional liturgical period.
The Christian High Holy Day of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day from Easter Sunday. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles.
Shrovetide, also known as the Pre-Lenten Season, is the Christian period of preparation before the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent. Shrovetide starts on Septuagesima Sunday, includes Sexagesima Sunday, Quinquagesima Sunday, as well as Shrove Monday, and culminates on Shrove Tuesday. One hallmark of Shrovetide is the merrymaking associated with Carnival. On the final day of the season, Shrove Tuesday, many traditional Christians, such as Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics, "make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with."