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Corpus Christi in the United States

Many Christians in the United States, particularly those of the Catholic faith, observe Corpus Christi in honor of the Holy Eucharist. It is also known as the Feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ, as well as the Day of Wreaths.

Is Corpus Christi a Public Holiday?

Although Corpus Christi is not a public holiday, businesses and schools may be closed because it falls on the same date as Kamehameha Day in 2020, which is a public holiday in Hawaii.

Communion wafers are usually offered at a church service during Corpus Christi.

©iStockphoto.com/MKucova

What Do People Do?

In commemoration of the Last Supper on the day before Jesus’ crucifixion many people, especially those who belong to the Catholic denomination, receive Communion on this day. It is celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday in some parts of the United States, although the day falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday in other places.

Some people, particularly children, may celebrate their first Communion on this day. This practice, also known as Eucharist, is observed throughout the life of a Christian and is a time of worship when people believe they come together as one body to remember and celebrate the life and works of Jesus Christ. It involves the acceptance of bread and wine in memory of the body and blood of Christ.

Public Life

Corpus Christi is not a federal holiday in the United States.

Background

Corpus Christi is a festival that has been celebrated by many Christians, particularly the Catholic Church, in honor of the Eucharist since 1246. The name “Corpus Christi” is a Latin phrase that refers to the body of Christ. This event commemorates the Last Supper on the day before Jesus’ crucifixion, as described in the Bible. Corpus Christi is primarily celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church but it is also included in the calendar of some Anglican churches.

The city of Corpus Christi, in Texas, was named after the day. In 1519, on the day of Corpus Christi, Spanish explorer Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda discovered a lush semi-tropical bay on what is now the southern coast of Texas. The bay, and the city that later grew in that area, took the name of the feast day.

Symbols

Symbols that portray the event may include: an image of a host (consecrated bread) and chalice to depict the Holy Eucharist; an altar; and a ciborium, which is a chalice-like container used to store consecrated hosts of the sacrament of Eucharist, or the Holy Communion.

About Corpus Christi in other countries

Read more about Corpus Christi.

Corpus Christi Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015ThuJun 4Corpus ChristiChristian
2016ThuMay 26Corpus ChristiChristian
2017ThuJun 15Corpus ChristiChristian
2018ThuMay 31Corpus ChristiChristian
2019SunJun 23Corpus ChristiChristian
2020ThuJun 11Corpus ChristiChristian
2021ThuJun 3Corpus ChristiChristian
2022ThuJun 16Corpus ChristiChristian
2023ThuJun 8Corpus ChristiChristian
2024ThuMay 30Corpus ChristiChristian
2025ThuJun 19Corpus ChristiChristian

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