Where are the Holy Days of Obligation in the Bible?

The Church of Our Lady of Peace in New York. (CNS photo/Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)
The Church of Our Lady of Peace in New York. (CNS photo/Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)
You won’t find a listing of the Holy Days of Obligation in the Bible because they aren’t there. They aren’t there because they weren’t instituted when the Bible was written and compiled. Like so many things in our Catholic tradition, the practice of celebrating Holy Days developed over a period of centuries as church leaders reflected on the importance of particular events (for example, the Epiphany and the Ascension of Jesus) and developed traditions around other aspects of our faith, (for example, the Immaculate Conception and All Saints Day). Here’s a list of Holy Days celebrated in the United States:

  • Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
  • Epiphany (celebrated on Sunday)
  • Feast of the Ascension
  • Body and Blood of Christ (celebrated on Sunday)
  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • All Saints Day
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • Christmas

Note that in some lists, Epiphany and the Body and Blood of Christ are omitted because they have been moved to, and celebrated on, Sundays.