Six distinct periods of Christian observances. Each focuses upon a different aspect of the Christian experience and tradition. These periods or seasons do not necessarily occur on the same dates from year to year, but are related to the dates of the two principal Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter. (1) Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. (2) The Christmas Season includes the twelve days from sunset Christmas Eve (December 24) through Epiphany (January 6). (3) The Season After Epiphany begins January 7 and lasts until Ash Wednesday. (4) Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts until Easter. The exact dates of Lent depend on the date for Easter Sunday. (5) Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21. Because the date for Easter moves between March 22 and April 25, the length of the Season After Epiphany and the Season After Pentecost varies. The Easter Season is fifty days long and goes through the Day of Pentecost. (6) The Season After Pentecost begins immediately after Pentecost Sunday and continues until the beginning of Advent.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.