We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Catholic Holy Days?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Catholic holy days, which may also be called feast days, are certain days within each year that commemorate spiritual things. These days may celebrate the lives of saints, apostles or martyrs, or may be commemorative of the Virgin Mary. Other times, they are celebrations of specific days in the life of Jesus Christ.

There are a vast number of Catholic holy days, but these may be considered as distinct from what are called holy days of obligation. Holy days of obligation are days when practicing Catholics must attend church. They are also asked not to participate in work that would interfere with church attendance. Many Catholics do work on these days, but still find time to go to mass too.

There are a few Catholic holy days of obligation that are easy to remember. Easter and Christmas immediately spring to mind. Easter is always celebrated on a Sunday, however. Regular churchgoers are not likely to miss mass. Conversely Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December and going to church the Sunday before or after Christmas does not lift obligation for church attendance on Christmas. One exception exists: if Christmas is celebrated on a Saturday, a priest may give dispensation to attendees to not go to Mass the following day, especially if they attend an evening service.

The other Catholic holy days of obligation include the following:

  • All Saints Day on November 1
  • The Feast of the Assumption
  • The Ascension into Heaven
  • Epiphany
  • Immaculate Conception
  • Solemnity of Mary

There may be other days considered holy and depending on where you live, and dates may differ for yearly celebration of these days. Many of them can be moved to Sundays before or after when the church actually dates the holy day. This is common in a variety of countries. Sometimes a country will observe a holy day or consider it a day of obligation because it reflects on the life of someone important to that country. The way St. Patrick’s Day is treated in Ireland is a good example of this.

As previously stated, not all Catholic holy days are also days of obligation and there is confusion on two of them. Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, and Good Friday are extremely important days to many. Nevertheless, they are not Catholic holy days of obligation, though they are holy days. Church attendance is not mandatory, but many people certainly attend church on these days.

Holy days are not unique to Catholicism. Many religions have days of special reverence or days of feasting. In all religions that have holy days, emphasis may be on spiritually reconnecting with the tenets of a person’s faith.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.