As contrasted with the secular calendar year, beginning on January 1, according the Julian calendar, the Christian calendar year actually begins with the period of Advent. The month long Advent period begins in the fourth week of November and ends on Christmas Day, December 25th. This period, leading up to the Western calendar date of the birth of Jesus, is marked with a number of celebrations involving the use of the color purple in church decorations and regalia worn by priests and other church officials. Advent means "coming" and "arrival" and is supposed to note the correlations between Jesus' birth and his later death by crucifixion. Greenery, particularly evergreen and holly wreaths, are popular items given during this period, as well as potted holly and evergreen trees and shrubs. The period officially ends with Christmas, the most popular gift giving holiday during the Christian year. During Advent, gifts of ornamental jewelry of seasonal colors, including red, blue, green, and purple, are lovely ways to remember special friends and loved ones.
January is an important religious month for those belonging to Greek and Russian Orthodox churches; as well as to the Armenian church. The former two Christian faiths celebrate Christmas on or about January 6, according to the Gregorian calendar year. The Armenians celebrate the holiday near the end of January; usually on or about January 26th.
February is marked by many as the month when St. Valentines Day is celebrated on February 14th. St. Valentine is considered by many as the Patron Saint of Romance, and gifts of flowers, handmade jewelry, and especially candy and sweets are very popular in North America and Europe. As the heart is a very special symbol of Valentine's Day, jewelry and other items of this shape are very popular as well as diamond jewelry - especially engagement rings, as many marriage proposals are made on this occasion.
The month of February also has a week long joyous festival period usually known as Mardi Grass in the USA, and Carnival in South America and some southern European countries. During this period, which ends on the official beginning of the six week period of Lent, people dress in festive carnival garb and literally go "dancing in the streets". Gifts of festive foods and beverages, as well as all types of parties are popular during this festival period.
The more somber period of Lent, in which many Christians forsake the eating of meat, leads up to Easter, which commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Since Lent is an intensely religious period, especially the last two weeks before Easter, gifts of religious importance, including crucifixes and other jewelry items are ideal including Cross Jewelry. Easter itself also symbolizes spring and eternal renewal, and many people give gifts of candied eggs and other sweets, and even baby chickens, rabbits and other animals. Gifts of clothing are also important, and many Christians still traditionally dress up on Easter Sunday. The period of Holy Week leading up to Easter is a good time for giving religious jewelry and related items.
The Holy Day of Pentecost occurs on the 50th day after Easter. Pentecost is not overly celebrated as it occurs so soon after the Easter holiday season. Pentecost was originally an Old Testament holiday and though the Christian meaning is different, it does relate to the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Red is a popular color for this holiday, so gifts with red, including jewelry, paintings and other mementos are appropriate gift ideas. Recent Christian interest in the Kabbalah makes "red string" and other Kabbalah Jewelry items good gift ideas.
The Autumn festivals of Tabernacles and Thanksgiving (in the USA) are good holidays to give gifts relating to the fall harvest. These gifts can include food parcels, paintings and pottery gift items. Though The American holiday of Thanksgiving is not really a Christian holiday, it does have much religious significance. The original celebrators of this holiday, the Puritans, were deeply religious people who considered their founding of Plymouth and other American colonies part of a Covenant with God. As with Tabernacles, gifts relating to the harvest and Autumn motifs are appropriate seasonal gifts.
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