Why do we not celebrate the same holy days in the U.S.?

I am reading through a book on Catholicism. I am at the part where it explains the different holy days celebrated in other countries. Holy days such as The Epiphany on January 6 , St. Joseph on March 19, Corpus Christi the sunday after Pentecost, and The Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul June 29 are recognized and celebrated in Vatican City it says, and in other Countries. Why do we not recognize them and celebrate here in the U.S.? It does not give a reason in the book.

I guess you mean at the civil society level? I would be surprised to learn the Church doesn’t celebrate them in the US.

I don’t know for sure, but I think there are historical reasons.

I live in a federal country (Switzerland) which has historically Protestant and Catholic states.

In my Protestant state, St Joseph is not an official feast day, but it’s a public holiday in Catholic states (and it’s huge). Same for Corpus Christi. It normally falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, and it’s a public holiday with big processions in Swiss Catholic states. In my Protestant state, not only it’s not a public holiday, but processions are also forbidden, so we have a toned-down celebration on the following Sunday.

Holy Days are universal. Bishop’s conferences may remove the obligation, however, that does not keep us from observing and celebrating these days!

Epiphany is “Little Christmas” a day for parties and gifts. Corpus Christi is the day when parishes have processions.

Every week I put in the bulletin a list of the upcoming feast and holy days for the week ahead.

Various countries recognize various holidays.

I am sorry, holy days of obligation that are celebrated I meant. In the U.S. we have 6 holy days of obligation. Where most countries have 10 or 11 I believe. I am assuming because the American government will not recognize them for Catholics perhaps? Most governments around the world have recognized these days for Catholics so they will not have to work.

I’m not sure about that. There have been HDOs on days when I have to work (like Immaculate Conception), and normally I inform my boss I’m going to be late that morning. He doesn’t ask any questions when I say I do, as I’m normally quite early, but if he did, I doubt he’d mind if I told him it was for religious reasons.

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Same here. I think the OP is conflating public holidays and HDOs, which may fall on a day where people have to work (leading, in my parish, to unusual Mass times in order to accommodate workers).


Count your blessings you have a job as good as that. Even though they say we have religious freedom in the U.S., I think my boss would laugh in my face if I tried to take a day for religious reasons, even if it meant just being late.

Possibly. Europe in general has a stronger cultural history with Catholicism, especially compared to America, and not just because it came here from Europe. The country was quite anti-Catholic, all the way back to the Puritans of Plymouth Rock. The French and Spanish territories were obviously an exception.


That’s also true of my particular Swiss state. Catholic processions are still illegal since Reformation, because they’re, well, Catholic.


Like with all First Amendment rights, they’re not unlimited. I cannot murder humans in the name of my religion and claim religious freedom. I cannot yell “fire” in a movie theater and claim free speech. But yes, I am lucky I can do that.

I wonder then, what do Swiss Protestants think of the Swiss Guard still being manned entirely by the Swiss?

They’re mostly very proud of our boys :laughing:

These old laws are a survivance of a time when the divide between confessions was particularly acute. The gap has been on the mend ever since. It’s mostly the politicians who look towards French secularism as a nice model, and are satisfied with a law which bans obvious manifestations of religious belief from public space.

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“What do you think of the Swiss Guard being Swiss?”

“Of course they’re Swiss! It’s in the name! And who wouldn’t want the best to be make up their guard?”

“What do you think of Catholicism?”




That wouldn’t be too far off the mark for some people I know.

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In the Eastern Churches, both Orthodox and Catholic, Theophany (Epiphany in the West) is one of the 12 Great Feasts and is always celebrated on January 6, whether it falls on a Sunday or Thursday. The Roman Catholic Church, I’m guessing for convenience, celebrates Epiphany on a particular Sunday after the Nativity.

The feast of Saints Peter and Paul is not one of the 12 Great Feasts of the Eastern Churches, but, it is important enough that we observe the Apostles Fast before this particular Feast. Maybe its a bigger deal in the Roman Catholic Church when it falls on a Sunday? I know that here in the US, some Roman Catholic Priests may speak of this particular Feast, maybe during the homily, when it falls on a weekday.

The Eastern Churches, both Orthodox and Catholic, do not celebrate Corpus Christi.

I think that these Feasts are recognized, but it probably depends on the parish Priest on whether their Church will celebrate the Feast.

I am speaking as an Orthodox Christian and only responded because this was posted in the Eastern Catholicism forum.


There are different calendars in use across Catholicism, such as the Latin Catholic church and the Byzantine Catholic Church. The universal lists are given in canon law, for example:

Latin (CIC)

Can. 1246
§1. Sunday, on which by apostolic tradition the paschal mystery is celebrated, must be observed in the universal Church as the primordial holy day of obligation. The following days must also be observed: the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Body and Blood of Christ, Holy Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostles, and All Saints.
§2. With the prior approval of the Apostolic See, however, the conference of bishops can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.

Eastern (CCEO)

Canon 880
§1. Only the supreme authority of the Church can establish, transfer or suppress feast days and days of penance which are common to all of the Eastern Churches, with due regard for §3.
§2. The authority of a Church sui iuris which is competent to establish particular law can constitute, transfer or suppress feast days and days of penance for that Church sui iuris, however having sought the opinions of the other Churches sui iuris and with due regard for can. 40, §1.
§3. Holy days of obligation common to all the Eastern Churches, beyond Sundays, are the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Dormition of the Holy Mary Mother of God and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul except for the particular law of a Church sui iuris approved by the Apostolic See which suppresses a holy days of obligation or transfers them to a Sunday.

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The Latin Catholic Church recognizes and celebrates all those days in the USA. However, they are not holy days of obligation, except for when they fall on a Sunday and one must meet their Saturday obligation.

In some countries, and even in some territories of the US (US VIrgin Islands for example), one or more of these days might be an HDO or a public holiday.

If one chooses to attend the weekday Mass in US in many places, one will see these days being celebrated with appropriate vestment colors and often other activities. Some parishes will have a special St. Joseph altar. One can usually find a parish doing a Eucharistic Procession of some sort (might be inside the church, around the church parking lot, or around the neighborhood) on Corpus Christi. Etc.

As others explained, the Eastern Churches have their own calendars.

Additionally, individual countries have their own calendars in the Latin Church. I’m not sure if that’s also the case for Eastern Churches.

I note you posted this in Eastern Catholicism so it’s a bit confusing to me because you seem to be talking about the Latin Church in different countries. I moved this thread to Liturgy and Sacraments as it doesn’t seem to be an Eastern Catholic topic.


Most companies nowadays just give people X number of personal days that they can use for the holidays of their own religion (or for whatever else they like if they don’t have a religion), so there’s no argument if a Jewish person wants to be off for a Jewish holiday, a Catholic person for a Catholic holiday, a Wiccan person for a Wiccan holiday, etc.


@Tis_Bearself I am a nurse. I tried to call off one day because of a legitimate sickness. But, because it was the first day of our state inspection I recieved multiple calls from management saying my illness was not legitimate enough for a call off and I needed to get into work :rofl: I don’t believe I would even attempt to use a personal day for religious reasons. They would send the Supervisor to my Parish to come pick me up.

I was unsure as to where I would post this. I meant to change the Eastern Catholicism but it slipped my mind before I could.

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