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feasts, festivals, and fasts

Activities that, in the Bible, are observed to commemorate or emphasize events in the relationship between God and human beings. The Pentateuch prescribes the observance of several recurring festal or otherwise positive religious occasions: every seventh day was to be set apart as a Sabbath on which no work was to be performed (Exod 20:8-11; Deut 5:12-15). The first day of each lunar month was a day for feasting (1Sam 20:5; 1Sam 20:18; 1Sam 20:24; 1Sam 20:27) and rest (Amos 8:5), and special sacrifices were to be made (Num 28:11-15; Ezek 46:6-7). Of the new-moon festivals, that in the seventh month (the Festival of Trumpets) was the most important (Lev 23:23-25; Num 29:1-6). Three festivals, called pilgrimage festivals, required the participation of Israelite males at the sanctuary (Exod 23:14; Exod 23:17; Exod 34:23; Deut 16:16-17) the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread, which were celebrated from the sunset of the fourteenth to the twenty-first day of the first month (Exod 12; Exod 23:15; Exod 34:18; Exod 34:25; Lev 23:5-8; Num 9:1-14; Num 28:16-25; Deut 16:1-8; Ezek 45:21-24); the Festival of Weeks, which occurred at the beginning of the wheat harvest seven weeks after the presentation of the barley omer (Exod 23:16; Exod 34:22; Lev 23:15-21; Num 28:26-31; Deut 16:9-10); and the Festival of Tabernacles (Booths), which was celebrated on the fifteenth through the twenty-second days of the seventh month, when the harvest and produce were gathered in (Exod 23:16; Exod 34:22; Lev 23:33-36; Num 28:12-31; Deut 16:13-18; Ezek 45:25). In contrast to feasts and festivals, fasts were times of mourning and self-denial arising from misfortune and sin. The only prescribed annual fast was that on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:29-34; Lev 23:26-32; Num 29:7). It occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month. In the NT, the Gospels report that Jesus observed Jewish festivals (John 5:1; John 7:2; John 7:10; Matt 26:17-18), and a tradition recorded by Paul reports that Jesus transformed Passover for his followers into a ritual remembrance of his death (1Cor 11:24).