Children's Ministry: Kids Sunday School Resource- Seasons of the Church Calendar and establishing holiday dates

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Church Seasons and dates Lesson Support - multi-denominational

This is Sunday School Teacher Information and background on establishing dates on the church calendar for converting them onto the church seasons wheel room poster or individual student version with instructions for use in your lesson.

How is the Church calendar – the liturgical calendar determined?
How are church holidays determined?
It’s not easy to figure out what days a church season or special days occur. Except for Christmas Day, many of our church’s special days are determined depending on the date of some other day, usually Easter, and that is dependent on the cycle of the moon!

You could say the church’s special dates determined in any given year vary from denomination to denomination, or are the same from denomination to denomination based on the awkward nature of most of the date calculations. There is much common agreement among denominations for major church holidays - sacred days.

A Lectionary is a book, calendar or list of Bible scripture readings designated for a specific day in the year. It is a schedule for worship readings, and usually ties into Special Days in the life of the church and frequently shows the dates for seasons of the church.

So here it is already figured it out! See other tables and date sources at the end of this page. Be sure to check with your minister, Sunday School Superintendent, or Director of Christian Education for your special church dates and seasons*


Table of some Church Holy Dates, Holy days, church holidays, sacred seasons:


If you want to figure it out yourself
Understanding the church year and how the dates are determined.

The Season of Advent is 22-28 days depending on what day of the week December 25th falls
When does Advent begin?
Advent Begins: Start counting backwards from December 25th, (Even if December 25 is a Sunday) go back 4 Sundays before December 25.
Advent Ends Sundown December 24

December 25

CHRISTMASTIDE or Christmastime – The time of and after Christmas
Most concur, Christmastide begins sundown December 24 (The vigil of Christmas) and ends January 13
And includes “The 12 days of Christmas”
January 6th is known as Epiphany, and it is the Twelfth Day of Christmas

LENT (also technically called Quadraegesima)
When does Lent begin?
To determine when Lent begins, count back from Easter Sunday 40 days (reminds us of Jesus time in the wilderness) plus 6 Sundays. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends the Saturday before Easter Sunday.
To get a more complicated determination of the beginning of Lent, Start at Septuagesima Sunday and count forward 2 Sundays, and the following Wednesday will be Ash Wednesday. Very few Sunday School children will get any value from this complex calculation.

PALM SUNDAY (Passion Sunday)
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter Sunday

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday
Counting days by sundown to sundown this Friday – concludes his trial, crucifixion, death, and burial. It has always baffled me that it is “Good”.

EASTER (Resurrection Sunday)
When is Easter (Resurrection Sunday)?
How is Easter Sunday figured out?

There is controversy over how the date of Easter is determined. The result is based on the full moon! It can not occur before March 22 or later than April 25, always falling between those dates. Because the date changes, it is sometime called a movable feast.

Some say : Easter Sunday is the Sunday following the full moon after the Vernal Equinox.
Some say: Easter Sunday is the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon date for the year - which only happened to coincide with the full moon Sunday following the vernal Equinox the year it was established around 325AD
One point of view. and
A second point of view that is generally accepted universally: (Catholic)
Among other views. The council of Nicea, hundreds of years ago, determined
• that Easter must be celebrated by all throughout the world on the same Sunday;
• that this Sunday must follow the fourteenth day of the paschal moon;
• that that moon was to be accounted the paschal moon whose fourteenth day followed the spring equinox;
• that some provision should be made, probably by the Church of Alexandria as best skilled in astronomical calculations, for determining the proper date of Easter and communicating it to the rest of the world

Third point of view: (ECLA): Pretty much supporting the council of Nicea statement
Fourth point of view:
The First Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21 (even if the full moon on or after March 21 falls on a Sunday, go to the Sunday after)

Many other church dates and seasons are based on the specific date of Easter in any given year.

EASTERTIDE ( Easter season)
Eastertide or Eastertime is approximately the seven weeks following Easter – or from Easter until Pentecost.

Count forty days after Easter Sunday, the following Thursday is usually is the feast of the Ascension and Ascension Sunday flanks it - sometimes referred to as the sixth Sunday after Easter. I always wish the church in general made a bigger celebration of this day. What a miracle occurred! What a sight to have seen!

Trinity Sunday is usually the first Sunday after the beginning of Pentecost.

Pentecost is sometimes informally referred to as the birth (or birthday) of the church.
Pentecost is not usually a fixed date, but dependent on another date (frequently referred to as wavesheaf day). It is quite complicated to determine the date of the beginning of Pentecost.

Pentecost was originally an Old Testament festival.
Based on: Anciently, God told His people Israel to ‘COUNT" from the morrow after the wave sheaf offering (Omer) fifty days to arrive at the "Feast of Sabbaths" or the "Feast of Firstfruits."
The word “pentecost” means “fiftieth day.” In most Christian traditions, Pentecost Sunday occurs 50 days following Easter Sunday (counting Easter Sunday since it is the first day of the week). Those 50 days span seven Sundays after Easter, so Pentecost is the seventh Sunday after Easter (7 weeks times 7 days = 49 days, plus Pentecost Sunday)

One point of view: The Christian Pentecost ends the fiftieth day of Easter
A Second point of view: Pentecost - count 8 Sundays AFTER Easter Sunday
A third view: Pentecost begins seven (7) weeks from the 15th of Abib (Nisan) (Nisan 14 is Passover)
Fourth method: Pentecost falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter, and it ends the season of Eastertide.
Finally: According to the Hebrew calendar rules, Passover, Nisan 14, can fall on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or weekly Sabbath. Thus, the first day of Unleavened Bread can fall on either a Tuesday, Thursday, weekly Sabbath, or Sunday. The last day of Unleavened Bread, just like the Passover, can fall on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or weekly Sabbath.
If the Passover, Nisan 14, falls on a Monday, the date of the weekly Sabbath will be the 19th, and wavesheaf Sunday will be the 20th. If it falls on a Wednesday, the weekly Sabbath date will be on the 17th, and wavesheaf Sunday will be the 18th. If it falls on Friday, the weekly Sabbath date will be the 15th and also the First day of Unleavened Bread, and wavesheaf Sunday will be the 16th. If it falls on the weekly Sabbath, the next weekly Sabbath within the Days of Unleavened Bread will be the 21st.
We can see that the date of the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls during the Days of Unleavened Bread will also move about because of the weekly Sabbath's relationship to the day on which Passover falls. This ensures that Pentecost will be on one of four dates in Sivan, forcing us to count every year.

ORDINARY TIME - Sometimes called the season of Pentecost
Some churches consider the time immediately after Pentecost until the beginning of Advent as “Ordinary Time”
Some churches extend The Season of Pentecost beginning with Feast of the Pentecost and ending in late November with Christ the King Sunday.


Episcopal Liturgical Calendar by month. "The Episcopal Lectionary is based on the Roman Catholic Lectionary, a product of Vatican II. The Lutheran Lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary also share this ancestry, so that quite often, the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic Churches are using the same lessons, with slight variations."

MORE people/churches/organizations who have already figured it out!

Some denominations, such as the UCC, through the pilgrim Press or United Church Press, sell a church Calendar with the lectionary readings, seasons and special dates included. There are several online church calendars and lectionaries as well. Begin with your pastor, minister or children's church leader to see what they use.

See a table of dates from now to to 2025 from the Pentecostal Church

Table 2 with calculator

Ash Wednesday
Easter Sunday
Feb 21
Apr 8
Feb 6
Mar 23
Feb 25
Apr 12

See the Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America

Looking for more holy dates? Try

and find a mountain of information for Calculation of the Ecclesiastical Calendar


Sunday School Resources FOR KIDS
from the Sunday School of Faith Congregational Church, Mount Prospect, Illinois

©Jo Dibbern



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