Traditionally, the Christian Church has recognised that certain people are especially holy because they have lived a life that is close to the Christian ideal. These people are called saints.
In some Christian denominations - for example, the Roman Catholic Church - saints continue to play a very important role. All the well-known saints have their own special day. A special Mass will be celebrated where worshippers will reflect on the inspiration a particular saint has given.
Saints are also important in the Church of Ireland, but in some churches they have little or no role to play - for example, Methodist and Presbyterian churches.
There are two main reasons why saints days are kept and why they are regarded by many Christians as being important: