Advent

First season of the liturgical year. It is traditionally a fast, and begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Its purpose is the preparation for Christmas, with the focus on expectation. Awaiting the coming of the Christ Child into the world is often represented by the Advent Wreath, a garland of evergreens with 4 candles: 3 purple and one rose. Each candle lit represents a particular theme of the coming Christmas season for which one is preparing, hope, faith, love and joy. Color: Blue or Violet.

Christmas

Typically begins with a worship service on Christmas Eve (December 24) and ends on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Epiphany) on the Sunday after January 6 . Christmas Day itself is December 25. The 12-day length of the Christmas season gives rise to "The Twelve Days of Christmas"; despite what retailers and the media might have one believe, the Twelve Days begin on Christmas Day, instead of ending on it. Color: White or Gold.

Ordinary Time

("Time after Epiphany" and "Septuagesima") Ordinary comes from the same root as our word ordinal, and in this sense means "the counted weeks." The first part (formerly known as the season after Epiphany) extends from the Monday following the Christmas Season through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. This first installment of Ordinary Time has anywhere from four to nine Sundays, depending on how early or late Easter falls in a given year. Color: Green.

Lent

Lent is a major fast taken by the Church to prepare for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday, in Holy Week. There are forty days of Lent not including Sundays. The last two weeks of Lent are known as "Passiontide", which begins on Passion Sunday; the final week of Lent is known as "Holy Week," which begins on Palm Sunday. Color: Violet.

Easter

The date of Easter varies from year to year, but is set to be close to the date of Jesus' resurrection, which the holiday recognizes. Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and continues until Pentecost. Color: White or Gold, except on . . .

Pentecost

The fiftieth day of Easter, is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh. Pentecost is celebrated by Christians as the birthday of the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Color: Red.

Ordinary Time ("Time After Pentecost")

Ordinary Time resumes after the Easter Season, on Pentecost Monday, includes All Saints' Day and ends on the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. Color: Green. The first Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday, and the last Sunday of Ordinary Time is Christ the King Sunday. Color: White.