What is a Saint Day (St Day)
Catholic Days to Honor Holy Men and Women
A saint day, or saint's feast day, is a day set aside in the Christian calendar devoted a particular saint (or sometimes a a group of saints). A saint is a holy person the Church recognizes as being an example for Christians. While the term "saint" is sometimes used to indicate a particularly good or virtuous person, when the Catholic Church declares someone a saint (or "canonizes" someone) it is declaring that the individual is in heaven. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches (and some Protestant ones) recognize the importance of a saint by giving him or her a unique saint day in the year and inviting believers to honor and remember that saint in public and private prayer and worship.
Each day of the year has many saints associated with it, and every canonized saint is assigned a saint day. However, in the general Roman calendar, observed by all Catholics throughout the world, a day typically has only one saint set aside to be recognized or honored, at least at public worship (Mass). For example, Saint Patrick is celebrated on March 17 and Saint Francis of Assisi on October 3. Saints that are deemed more important in the Church calendar, such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, sometimes have feast days that are referred to as "solemnities," making them of greater importance than most feast days. Often, saints that are not given prominence in the general Roman calendar may be celebrated more specifically by individuals with a special devotion to them — for example, a saint may not be marked by the universal Church but may be celebrated in their home town.
Saint days will sometimes be an important celebration or sometimes merely a commemoration of the saint's life. Some saints' feast days have specific traditions, foods, or prayers and devotions associated with them — for instance, in Italian culture the feast of Saint Joseph has specific foods and customs of hospitality associated with it. Many feast day celebrations are developed by individuals or families based on their own interest in or devotion to particular saints. There is no "wrong way" to celebrate a saint's feast day.
Updated 02-07-2023 by Elizabeth Craig