In the Catholic Church, Holy Days of Obligation are the days on which the faithful are expected to attend Mass. The specific days can vary somewhat from country to country depending on the rulings of the national bishops’ conferences in conjunction with the Vatican, but the following are generally recognized universally:
- Christmas Day (December 25): The birth of Jesus.
- Feast of Mary, Mother of God (January 1): Celebrating Mary as the Mother of Jesus.
- Ascension (40 days after Easter, or the following Sunday): Celebrating Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
- Assumption of Mary (August 15): The taking up of Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life.
- All Saints’ Day (November 1): Honoring all the saints of the Church, both known and unknown.
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8): Celebrating the conception of Mary in her mother’s womb without original sin.
- Easter Sunday (a Sunday in spring, date varies): Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.
While these are generally observed, some countries move observance of some of these feasts to the nearest Sunday or otherwise adjust the liturgical calendar. For example, in the United States, if the Assumption of Mary or All Saints’ Day falls on a Saturday or a Monday, the obligation to attend Mass is lifted for that year.
In any case, it’s recommended to check with your local parish or diocese for the exact days observed in your specific location.