Before entering fully into the clarification of the meaning of the term
liturgical year, it is essential to know the etymological origin of the two
words that give it form:
-Year comes from Latin, exactly from “annus”, which has the same meaning as in
-Liturgical, on the other hand, it is a term of Greek origin. Specifically, it
comes from "leitoyrgikos" which can be translated as "related to religious
ceremonies". It is the result of the sum of three clearly differentiated parts:
the noun "leiton" (government house), the element "ergon" (work) and the suffix
"-ico", which is used to indicate "relative to".
A year is a temporary period that spans
twelve months. Generally, the notion is associated with the calendar year, which
begins on January 1 and ends on December 31. However,
there are different year classes according to how time is measured, which can
even be less or more than twelve months (such as the school year).
In the case of the liturgical year, this is the name given
to the year that governs the festivities of the Christian Church,
whose beginning is found on the first Sunday of Advent (that
is, on the first Sunday of the liturgical season that precedes the celebration
of Christmas; this time has an extension of four weeks).
the liturgical year, in this way, organizes the various liturgical
seasons that are linked to acts of worship, which in turn derive from
the Bible. The faithful, following the liturgical year, can
know what prayers should be said at each moment and know what colors the rite
celebrant will wear in the context of the liturgy.
In addition to all the above, we cannot ignore that for Christians the
liturgical year has two clear functions:
-On the one hand, a mission of a salvific type, insofar as they receive during
that period the grace of the intimate joy of salvation, that of Christian hope,
courage and bravery, the conversion of the heart...
-On the other hand, it is established that this liturgical year has a
catechetical objective. Yes, because, through it, the mysteries of Christ are
learned: Christmas, Epiphany, Death, Resurrection... Thus, for example, at
Christmas the birth of Jesus Christ is commemorated while at Easter one chooses
to do the same with the passion, death and resurrection of it.
Although there are celebrations whose date is fixed every year (such as Christmas,
which is celebrated on December 25), others change (such as Easter). The
liturgical year is particularly relevant in these cases, when the celebrations
are mobile and it is necessary to keep in mind when they are celebrated each
It is important to know that the liturgical year has two cycles: the
Christological season, which is the one that revolves around Christ and the
saints. The latter is the one dedicated to the saints and the Virgin.
If we focus on the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, the
liturgical year consists of the Ordinary Time, the Season
of Advent, the Season of Christmas, the Season
of Lent and the Season of Easter.