Memorial of Jesus’ Death
The Memorial is our most important holiday of the year, as Jesus told Christians to commemorate his death. We do this in a memorial celebration called “the Lord’s Supper” or “the Lord’s Evening Meal” (1 Corinthians 11:20). Jesus Christ instituted this observance on the night of the Jewish Passover in 33 CE. The Passover was a celebration held just once a year, on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month of Nisan. To calculate that date, the Jews evidently waited for the spring equinox. This is the day when there are approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. The month of Nisan began when the new moon nearest the spring equinox became visible in Jerusalem.
We celebrate the Memorial after sunset, according to the reckoning of the Jewish calendar that was used in the first century.
In 2023, the Memorial will be held on 4 April (after sunset).
You can find more on this subject in the article “Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Observe the Lord’s Supper Differently From the Way Other Religions Do?” on JW.ORG.
Conventions and Assemblies
Our conventions and assemblies are extended religious services that last the entire day. They align with the three ancient biblical festivals that were celebrated annually (Deuteronomy 16:16; Luke 2:41-52).
Regional conventions take place once a year, last three to four days and can be international in nature.
Circuit assemblies usually take place twice a year on weekends and are attended by ten to twenty congregations. In Austria, many of these are held in our purpose-built Assembly Hall.
According to the religious law of Jehovah’s Witnesses, conventions and assemblies are religious holidays. They are a central component of our worship and religious practice. They motivate the community and strengthen our faith. The programmes are arranged by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and take account of the needs of believers throughout the world. There are discourses, personal testimonies and practical examples. Baptisms also take place on these occasions.
Any person who decides to live life in accordance with Bible principles – after thoroughly examining the Scriptures – can be baptised. Baptism is a sacred rite and a public profession of faith. It also establishes a person’s membership in the religious community of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The dates of conventions and assemblies are scheduled and fixed annually for each congregation by the Branch Committee, which is responsible for the spiritual, administrative and legal supervision of the religious association.
Click here to view the dates and locations of conventions and assemblies.
Other Formal Religious Occasions
Other formal religious occasions, usually officiated by congregation elders, include:
- Weddings – see the article “What Happens at a Wedding of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” on JW.ORG;
- Funerals – see the article “How Do Jehovah’s Witnesses View Funerals?” on JW.ORG;
- The sacred rite of baptism – see the article “What Is Baptism?” on JW.ORG;
- The dedication (consecration) of a place of worship – watch the video “Turkey Branch Dedication Report” on JW.ORG.