December 27, 2013

The Christmas Octave

For many people, Christmas ends at 11:59pm on Dec. 25.  However, in the Catholic Church, Dec. 25 is just the beginning.  The Christmas season runs from Dec. 25 until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, usually the third Sunday after Christmas.  Dec. 25-Jan. 1 is known as the Christmas Octave, an 8-day celebration (there is an Easter Octave as well).  On most days between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 there are a number of special feasts to coincide with Christmas:

Dec. 26: Feast of St. Stephen
Dec. 27: Feast of St. John
Dec. 28: Feast of the Holy Innocents
The Sunday after Christmas: Feast of the Holy Family
Jan. 1: Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

After the Octave:
Second Sunday after Christmas: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Third Sunday after Christmas: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

These are some of my favorite days of the liturgical year.  So celebrate well, Christmas has just begun!

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