The various festivals, feasts, fasts and other important events of the Roman Catholic Church are timed by the liturgical calendar. Of the many events listed on the liturgical calendar there are a few that are particularly important. There are some differences between the holidays of the major denominations of Christianity, but the major festivals of the Roman Catholic Church are common to several other Christian denominations, and are now celebrated by even non-religious people.
Christmas is one of the most popular festivals in the world, and though it started out as a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus and is still celebrated as such by the Roman Catholic Church, it is popular with non-religious people too, especially in countries with large numbers of Christians. Since the 1970s the Roman Catholic Church has defined the Christmas season as starting on the evening of Christmas Eve and running to the Sunday after Epiphany, which is the commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord. There is often a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day feast to celebrate the holiday.
Good Friday is a holy day that immediately precedes Easter Sunday, and is meant to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As with most major Roman Catholic festivals, it is also marked by several other Christian denominations. For the Roman Catholic Church, Good Friday is a fast day, and is the culmination of the Holy Week that precedes it. The occasion is highlighted by a special church service.
Easter Sunday is meant to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead three days after his crucifixion. It is the most important feast in the liturgical year. In the Roman Catholic faith the celebration of Easter Sunday begins with a Mass on the evening of Holy Saturday, which is the Saturday that falls in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is usually commemorated with a feast.
In addition to the well known Roman Catholic Church festivals there are also many days throughout the year dedicated to various Roman Catholic saints. Whether or not a saint is celebrated on a given day depends on several things, including the country and even the region of the country in question. A common way to celebrate a saint on the day in question is with a commemorative service and a feast.