The Liturgical Calendar is divided into six seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Triduum, Easter, and Ordinary Time. In addition, the Church also celebrates Solemnities, Feasts, and Memorials. These occur during the year to commemorate special events and persons of high reverence in the Church.
The Seasons of the Liturgical Calendar
Advent begins at evening prayer on the Sunday nearest to November 30, and ends Christmas Day morning. During this time, the Church recalls the first coming of our Lord to humankind. It is a time of hopeful expectation.
Christmas begins Christmas Day morning and ends the Sunday after Epiphany. The Church celebrates the birth of our Lord. Next to Triduum, this is the highest season of the year. The feasts of the Holy Family, Mary the Mother of God, and Epiphany are all celebrated in this season.
Lent begins Ash Wednesday and ends the beginning of Holy Thursday evening Mass. The time varies from late Winter to early Spring. The Church prepares for the celebration of Easter. Prayer, almsgiving, and fasting are emphasized. The season concludes during Holy Week, which begins with Christ’s procession into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Triduum begins the beginning of Holy Thursday evening Mass and ends with evening prayer on Easter Sunday. The culmination of the Liturgical year, it celebrates the Paschal Mystery, that Christ suffered, died, and was resurrected, giving us the promise of everlasting life. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday comprise this season, which is the shortest and greatest of the Liturgical year.
Easter begins with evening prayer on Easter Sunday and ends on Pentecost Sunday, 50 days after Easter. During this time, the Church rejoices and celebrates the resurrection of Christ. The season includes the celebration of Christ’s ascension into Heaven, culminating with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Ordinary Time is the liturgical period outside of the distinctive liturgical seasons, and runs 33 or 34 weeks. It falls immediately after Christmastide (Christmas Eve to January 5, the eve of Epiphany), and then again after the Easter Season.