Terms Referring to Lenten Customs

      As discussed in another blog, Lent is a 40 day season of prayer for practicing Orthodox and Roman Catholics (these 40 days do not include Sunday since, as Roman Catholics believe, that day belongs to Lord for his purposes, since all power on earth and in heaven was given to Him (Matthew 28:18) before He ascended into heaven. Before this, the day of rest resided as the special day of the father, that day being Saturday, the sabbath, the day he rested after creation. The Lord’s Day after given all power was Sunday, the day He triumph over death, the day He choose to aid in passing that triumph to all His future faithful), fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. There are many customs and celebrations before this time of penance, sort of as a last hurrah before the discipline of Lent that have arisen all over the world, as rest, or as penance days. There are also terms and customs associated with the times surrounding Lent and Easter up until the time the ascension is celebrated.  The terms will be listed below in alphabetical order and where other terms are listed as alternate terms we will simply refer back to the terms mentioned elsewhere.  All the terms can be looked up online for more in-depth understanding at Wikipedia but have been listed in one place to enlighten those that have heard terms but were unaware of their meanings/origins from either a religious or cultural perspective or their relationship to each other.  Definition for all terms are taken, for the most part, verbatim, recombined or paraphrased from Wikipedia and if one wishes more in-depth information they can start at the URL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrove_Monday .

Abstinence – When someone abstains from meat, as on every Friday before Vatican II, in honor of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday. After Vatican II only on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during lent and possibly other special days if requested by the local bishop such as ember days. It is okay to eat fish since in the Jewish tradition, fish was not used as a sacrifice since everyone could go fish and catch one. It was also considered a sacrifice because it was common fare for the poor.

Ascension Thursday – commemorates the Christian belief of the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven. It is one of the ecumenical (i.e., shared by multiple denominations) feasts of Christian churches, ranking with the feasts of the Passion and Pentecost. Following the account of Acts 1:3 that the risen Jesus appeared for 40 days prior to his Ascension, Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter; although some Christian denominations have moved the observance to the following Sunday. The day of observance varies by ecclesiastical province in many Christian denominations, as with Methodists and Catholics, for example.

Ascensiontide – refers to the ten day period between the Feast of the Ascension and the Feast of Pentecost.

Ash Wednesday – this is the beginning of Lent as covered above in the Roman Catholic Liturgical year.

Black Friday – See Good Friday

Black Saturday – See Holy Saturday

Butter Lady – see Maslenitsa

Butter Week – see Maslenitsa

Care Sunday – See Passion Sunday

Carnival – this celebration made famous in Rio De Janaro.  The word Carnival is of Christian origin. The Latin-derived name of the holiday is sometimes also spelled Carnaval, typically in areas where DutchFrenchSpanish, and Portuguese are spoken, or Carnevale in Italian-speaking contexts. Alternative names are used for regional and local celebrations.

The word is said to come from the Late Latin expression carne levare, which means “remove meat”; a folk etymology derives it from carne vale, “farewell to meat”. In either case, this signifies the approaching fast, The word carne may also be translated as flesh, producing “a farewell to the flesh”, a phrase embraced by certain Carnival celebrants to embolden the festival’s carefree spirit. The etymology of the word Carnival thus points to a Christian origin of the celebratory period.

Other scholars argue that the origin of the word is a common meat-based country feast (in Latin carnualia) or the festival of the Navigium Isidis (“ship of Isis”), where the image of Isis was carried to the seashore to bless the start of sailing season. The festival consisted of a parade of masks following an adorned wooden boat, called in Latin carrus navalis, possibly the source of both the name and the parade floats.

Carnival  is a Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide (or Pre-Lent). Carnival typically involves public celebrations, including events such as parades, public street parties and other entertainments, combining some elements of a circus. Elaborate costumes and masks allow people to set aside their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity. Participants often indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods that will be forgone during upcoming Lent. Traditionally, butter, milk, and other animal products were not consumed “excessively”, rather, their stock was fully consumed during Shrovetide as to reduce waste. This festival is known for being a time of great indulgence before Lent (which is a time stressing the opposite), with drinking, overeating, and various other activities of indulgence being performed. For example, pancakes, donuts, and other desserts are prepared and eaten for a final time. During Lent, lacticinia and animal products are eaten less, and individuals make a Lenten sacrifice, thus giving up a certain object or activity of desire.

Other common features of Carnival include mock battles such as food fights; expressions of social satire; mockery of authorities; costumes of the grotesque body that display exaggerated features such as large noses, bellies, mouths, phalli, or elements of animal bodies; depictions of disease and gleeful death; and a general reversal of everyday rules and norms. The Italian tradition of wearing masks dates back to the Venice Carnival in the 15th century, and has been an inspiration in Greek theater and Commedia dell’arte for centuries.

The term Carnival is traditionally used in areas with a large Catholic presence, as well as in Greece. In historically Evangelical Lutheran countries, the celebration is known as Fastelavn, and in areas with a high concentration of Anglicans (Church of England/US Episcopal Church), Methodists, and other Protestants, pre-Lenten celebrations, along with penitential observances, occur on Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. In Slavic Eastern Orthodox nations, Maslenitsa is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. In German-speaking Europe and the Netherlands, the Carnival season traditionally opens on 11/11 (often at 11:11 a.m.). This dates back to celebrations before the Advent season or with harvest celebrations of St. Martin’s Day.

Carnavale – see Carnaval

Cheesefare Week – see Maslenitsa

Crepe Week – see Maslenitsa

Easter –  also called Pascha (AramaicGreekLatin) or Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus Christ, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a 40-day period of fastingprayer, and penance.

Easter-observing Christians commonly refer to the week before Easter as Holy Week, which in Western Christianity begins on Palm Sunday (marking the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem), includes Spy Wednesday (on which the betrayal of Jesus is mourned), and contains the days of the Easter Triduum including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper,[15][16] as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In Eastern Christianity, the same days and events are commemorated with the names of days all starting with “Holy” or “Holy and Great”; and Easter itself might be called “Great and Holy Pascha”, “Easter Sunday”, “Pascha” or “Sunday of Pascha”. In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the Paschal season ends with Pentecost as well, but the leave-taking of the Great Feast of Pascha is on the 39th day, the day before the Feast of the Ascension.

Easter and its related holidays are moveable feasts, not falling on a fixed date; its date is computed based on a lunisolar calendar (solar year plus Moon phase) similar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established only two rules, namely independence from the Hebrew calendar and worldwide uniformity. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March.[18] Even if calculated on the basis of the more accurate Gregorian calendar, the date of that full moon sometimes differs from that of the astronomical first full moon after the March equinox.

The English term is derived from the Saxon spring festival Ēostre; Easter is also linked to the Jewish Passover by its name (Hebrew: פֶּסַח pesachAramaic: פָּסחָא pascha are the basis of the term Pascha), by its origin (according to the synoptic Gospels, both the crucifixion and the resurrection took place during the week of Passover) and by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages, both the Christian Easter and the Jewish Passover are called by the same name; and in the older English versions of the Bible, as well, the term Easter was used to translate Passover. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, midnight vigils, exclamations and exchanges of Paschal greetingsclipping the church (England), and decoration and the communal breaking of Easter eggs (a symbol of the empty tomb). The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection in Western Christianity, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include Easter parades, communal dancing (Eastern Europe), the Easter Bunny and egg hunting.There are also traditional Easter foods that vary by region and culture.

Easter Eve – See Holy Saturday

Easter Sunday – See Easter.

Eastertide –  (also known as Eastertime or the Easter season) or Paschaltide (also known as Paschaltime or the Paschal season) is a festal season in the liturgical year of Christianity that focuses on celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It begins on Easter Sunday, which initiates Easter Week in Western Christianity, and Bright Week in Eastern Christianity. There are several Eastertide customs across the Christian world, including sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greetingclipping the church, and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb.

Eastertide customs include egg hunting, eating special Easter foods and watching Easter parades.

Traditionally lasting 40 days to commemorate the time the resurrected Jesus remained on earth before departing (the period between Easter Day and the Ascension), 20th century liturgical revision has led some western churches to expand Eastertide to 50 days to conclude on Whitsunday.

Easter Season – See Eastertide.

Eastertime – See Eastertide

Ember days – quarterly periods (Latinquatuor tempora) of prayer and fasting in the liturgical calendar of Western Christian churches. These fasts traditionally take place on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday following St Lucy’s Day (13 December), the first Sunday in LentPentecost (Whitsun), and Holy Cross Day (14 September), though some areas follow a different pattern. Ordination ceremonies are often held on Ember Saturdays or the following Sunday. There purpose is to offer sacrifice for getting more vocations for new good priest and is possibly the reason ordination ceremonies are often held then.

Estomihi – see Quinquagesima

Fasting – for Roman Catholics, taken as a technical term, is the reduction of one’s intake of food to one full meal (which may not contain meat on Ash WednesdayGood Friday, and Fridays throughout the entire year unless a solemnity should fall on Friday) and two small meals (known liturgically as collations), both of which together should not equal the large meal. Eating solid food between meals is not permitted. Fasting is required of the faithful between the ages of 18 and 59 on specified days. Complete abstinence of meat for the day is required of those 14 and older. Meat is understood as that of warm-blooded land animals.

Pope Pius XII initially relaxed some of the regulations concerning fasting in 1956. In 1966, Pope Paul VI in his apostolic constitution Paenitemini, changed the strictly regulated Catholic fasting requirements. He recommended that fasting be appropriate to the local economic situation, and that all Catholics voluntarily fast and abstain. In the United States, there are only two obligatory days of fast – Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Though not under the pain of mortal sin, fasting on all forty days of Lent is “strongly recommended”. The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. Pastoral teachings since 1966 have urged voluntary fasting during Lent and voluntary abstinence on the other Fridays of the year. The regulations concerning such activities do not apply when the ability to work or the health of a person would be negatively affected.

Various other religions have other similar fasting rules like not consuming food and drink from sunrise to sundown etc.

Fastelavn – a Carnival tradition in the Northern European, and historically Lutheran, nations of DenmarkNorwaySwedenIcelandEstoniaFaroe Islands, as well as Greenland.

The traditions of Fastelavn vary somewhat by country and by local region, as some traditions have changed over time. A common theme of Fastelavn in all the countries currently involves children dressing up in costumes, walking door to door while they sing and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast, a form of trick-or-treating.[4] Today, the festivities of Fastelavn are generally considered to be a time for children’s fun and family games.

The term Fastelavn comes from Old Danish fastelaghen, which was a borrowing of the Middle Low German vastel-avent, meaning “fast-evening”, or the day before Lent. The word has cognates in other mostly Germanic languages and languages with contact with it, including Kölsch FastelovendLimburgish VastelaovendDutch VastenavondScots Fastens-eenLatvian Vastlāvji, and Estonian Vastlapäev.

The related word Fastelovend is used for Carnival in Germany in Cologne and Bonn with the same meaning. Fastelavn is related to the Roman Catholic tradition of Carnival in the days before Lent, although after Denmark became a Protestant nation the festival adopted certain distinctive characteristics. The holiday occurs the week before the Christian penitential season of Lent, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The Swedish counterpart is Fastlagen, the Icelandic is Sprengidagur, and in Finland they celebrate Laskiainen. In Estonia it is celebrated as Vastlapäev. In Iceland, Ísafjörður is the only town that celebrates Fastelavn on the same day as the other Nordic countries, on Monday, locally known as Maskadagur (mask-day).

Fastelavnsboller – Shrovetide buns which are eaten after atending divine servises on Shrove Sunday in historacally Lutheren countries such as Denmark.

Fastelavnsris – Shrovetide rods or branches decorated with sweets, presents, etc., that are used to decorate the home or give to children.

Fastiagen – See Fastelavn

Fat Tuesday – See Mardi Gras

Feast of Corpus Christi (Ecclesiastical LatinDies Sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Domini Iesu Christilit. ’Day of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ the Lord’), also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is a Christian liturgical solemnity celebrating the Real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist; it is observed by the Roman Catholic Church, in addition to certain Western OrthodoxLutheran, and Anglican churches. Two months earlier, the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is observed on Maundy Thursday in a sombre atmosphere leading to Good Friday. The liturgy on that day also commemorates Christ’s washing of the disciples’ feet, the institution of the priesthood, and the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The feast of Corpus Christi was proposed by Saint Thomas AquinasDoctor of the Church, to Pope Urban IV, in order to create a feast focused solely on the Holy Eucharist, emphasizing the joy of the Eucharist being the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Having recognized in 1264 the authenticity of the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena, on input of Aquinas, the pontiff, then living in Orvieto, established the feast of Corpus Christi as a Solemnity and extended it to the whole Roman Catholic Church.

The feast is liturgically celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday or, “where the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is not a holy day of obligation, it is assigned to the Sunday after the Most Holy Trinity as its proper day”.

At the end of Holy Mass, there is often a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, generally displayed in a monstrance. The procession is followed by the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. A notable Eucharistic procession is that presided over by the Pope each year in Rome, where it begins at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and passes to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where it concludes with the aforementioned Benediction. Corpus Christi wreaths, which are made of flowers, are hung on the doors and windows of the Christian faithful, in addition to being erected in gardens and fields.

The celebration of the feast was suppressed in Protestant churches during the Reformation for theological reasons: outside Lutheranism, which maintained the confession of the Real Presence, many Protestants denied the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist other than as a merely symbolic or spiritual presence. Today, most Protestant denominations do not recognize the feast day, with exception of certain Lutheran churches and the Church of England, the latter of which abolished it in 1548 as the English Reformation progressed, but later reintroduced it.[9] Some Anglican churches now observe Corpus Christi, sometimes under the name “Thanksgiving for Holy Communion”.

Gesimatide – see Shrovetide.

Great Lent or Great Fast – (from the Greek  meaning “Great 40 Days,” and “Great Fast,” respectively), is the most important fasting season of the church year within many denominations of Eastern Christianity. It is intended to prepare Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha (Easter).

The purpose of Great Lent is to prepare the faithful to not only commemorate, but to enter into the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. The totality of the Byzantine Rite life centers around the Resurrection. Great Lent is intended to be a “workshop” where the character of the believer is spiritually uplifted and strengthened; where their life is rededicated to the principles and ideals of the Gospel; where fasting and prayer culminate in deep conviction of life; where apathy and disinterest turn into vigorous activities of faith and good works.

Lent is not for the sake of Lent itself, as fasting is not for the sake of fasting. Rather, these are means by which and for which the individual believer prepares himself to reach for, accept and attain the calling of their Savior. Therefore, the significance of Great Lent is highly appraised, not only by the monks who gradually increased the length of time of the Lent, but also by the lay people themselves. The Eastern Orthodox lenten rules are the monastic rules. These rules exist not as a Pharisaic law, “burdens grievous to be borne” Luke 11:46, but as an ideal to be striven for; not as an end in themselves, but as a means to the purification of heart, the enlightening of mind, the liberation of soul and body from sin, and the spiritual perfection crowned in the virtue of love towards God and man.

In the Byzantine Rite, asceticism is not exclusively for the “professional” religious, but for each layperson as well, according to their strength. As such, Great Lent is a sacred Institute of the Church to serve the individual believer in participating as a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. It provides each person an annual opportunity for self-examination and improving the standards of faith and morals in their Christian life. The deep intent of the believer during Great Lent is encapsulated in the words of Saint Paul: “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14).

Through spending more time than usual in prayer and meditation on the Holy Scripture and the Holy Traditions of the Church, the believer in Christ becomes through the grace of God more godlike. The emphasis towards this period differs somewhat from Western Christianity- the Eastern focus is less on repentance and more of an attempt to recapture humanity’s original state.

Good Friday –  a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy FridayGreat FridayGreat and Holy Friday (also Holy and Great Friday), and Black Friday.

Members of many Christian denominations, including the CatholicEastern OrthodoxLutheranAnglicanMethodistOriental OrthodoxUnited Protestant and some Reformed traditions (including certain Continental ReformedPresbyterian and Congregationalist churches), observe Good Friday with fasting and church services. In many Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and Methodist churches, the Service of the Great Three Hours’ Agony is held from noon until 3 pm, the time duration that the Bible records as darkness covering the land to Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Communicants of the Moravian Church have a Good Friday tradition of cleaning gravestones in Moravian cemeteries.

The date of Good Friday varies from one year to the next in both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Eastern and Western Christianity disagree over the computation of the date of Easter and therefore of Good Friday. Good Friday is a widely instituted legal holiday around the world, including in most Western countries and 12 U.S. states. Some predominantly Christian countries, such as Germany, have laws prohibiting certain acts such as dancing and horse racing, in remembrance of the somber nature of Good Friday.’Good Friday’ comes from the sense ‘pious, holy’ of the word “good”. Less common examples of expressions based on this obsolete sense of “good” include “the good book” for the Bible, “good tide” for “Christmas” or Shrovetide, and Good Wednesday for the Wednesday in Holy Week. A common folk etymology incorrectly analyzes “Good Friday” as a corruption of “God Friday” similar to the linguistically correct description of “goodbye” as a contraction of “God be with you”. In Old English, the day was called “Long Friday” (langa frigedæg [ˈlɑŋɡɑ ˈfriːjedæj]), and equivalents of this term are still used in Scandinavian languages and Finnish

Good Wednesday – See Holy Wednesday

Great Friday – See Good Friday

Great and Holy Friday – See Good Friday

Great and Holy Saturday – See Holy Saturday

Great Sabbath – See Holy Saturday

Hallelujah Saturday – See Holy Saturday

Holy and Great Friday – See Good Friday

Holy and Great Saturday – See Holy Saturday

Holy Friday – See Good Friday

Holy Saturday – (LatinSabbatum Sanctum), also known as Great and Holy Saturday (also Holy and Great Saturday), the Great SabbathHallelujah Saturday (in Portugal and Brazil), Saturday of the GlorySabado de Gloria, and Black Saturday or Easter Eve, and called “Joyous Saturday”, “the Saturday of Light”, and “Mega Sabbatun” among Coptic Christians, is the final day of Holy Week, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when Christians prepare for the latter. The day commemorates the Harrowing of Hell while Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb. Christians of the Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican and Reformed denominations begin the celebration of the Easter Vigil service on Holy Saturday, which provides a transition to the season of Eastertide; in the Moravian Christian tradition, graves are decorated with flowers during the day of Holy Saturday and the celebration of the sunrise service starts before dawn on Easter Sunday.

Holy Wednesday – commemorates the Bargain of Judas as a clandestine spy among the disciples. It is also called Spy Wednesday, or Good Wednesday (in Western Christianity), and Great and Holy Wednesday (in Eastern Christianity).

In Western Christianity many churches of various denominations observe the tenebrae service on Holy Wednesday.

In the New Testament account of Holy Week, after Palm Sunday, the Sanhedrin gathered and plotted to kill Jesus before the feast of Pesach. On the Wednesday before his death, Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the Leper. As he sat at the supper table with his disciples, a woman named Mary anointed Jesus’ head and feet with a costly oil of spikenard. The disciples were indignant, asking why the oil was not instead sold and the money given to the poor. But Judas Iscariot wanted to keep the money for himself. Then Judas went to the Sanhedrin and offered to deliver Jesus to them in exchange for money. From this moment on, Judas sought an opportunity to betray Jesus.

In reference to Judas Iscariot’s intent to betray Jesus, formed on Holy Wednesday, the day is sometimes called “Spy Wednesday”. The word spy, as used in the term, means “ambush, ambuscade, snare”.[16] Additionally, among the disciples, Judas clandestinely was a spy and Wednesday was the day he chose to betray Christ.

Lacticinia – are food products made from (or containing) milk. The most common dairy animals are cowwater buffalonanny goat, and ewe. Dairy products include common grocery store food items in the Western world such as yogurtcheese and butter. A facility that produces dairy products is known as a dairy. Dairy products are consumed worldwide to varying degrees (see consumption patterns worldwide). Some people avoid some or all dairy products either because of lactose intoleranceveganism, or other health reasons or beliefs.

Laskiainen – see Fastelavn

Mardi Gras – refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is known as Shrove TuesdayMardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday“, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season.

Related popular practices are associated with Shrovetide celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. In countries such as the United Kingdom, Mardi Gras is more usually known as Pancake Day or (traditionally) Shrove Tuesday, derived from the word shrive, meaning “to administer the sacrament of confession to; to absolve”.

Maskadagur – mask day, see Fastelavn

Maslenitsa – also known as Butter LadyButter WeekCrepe week, or Cheesefare Week) is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday which has retained a number of elements of Slavic mythology in its ritual. It is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent; that is, the eighth week before Eastern Orthodox Pascha.

The date of Maslenitsa changes every year, depending on the date of the celebration of Easter. It corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday, and the Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date.

The traditional attributes of the Maslenitsa celebration are the Maslenitsa effigy, sleigh rides, and festivities. Russians bake bliny and flatbread, while Belarusians and Ukrainians cook pierogi and syrniki.

According to archeological evidence from 2nd century A.D., Maslenitsa may be the oldest surviving Slavic holiday. In the Christian tradition, Maslenitsa is the last week before the onset of Great Lent..

Maundy – also refered to as Washing of the Saints’ FeetWashing of the Feet, or Pedelavium or Pedilavium, is a religious rite observed by various Christian denominations. The Latin word mandatum is the first word sung at the ceremony of the washing of the feet, “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos“, from the text of John 13:34 in the Vulgate (“I give you a new commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you”, John 13:34). This is also seen as referring to the commandment of Christ that believers should emulate his loving humility in the washing of the feet (John 13:14–17). The term mandatum (mandé, maundy), therefore, was applied to the rite of foot-washing on the Thursday preceding Easter Sunday, called Maundy Thursday.

John 13:2–17 recounts Jesus‘ performance of this action. In verses 13:14–17, He instructs His disciples:

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

— John 13:14–17 (NKJV)

Footwashing was practiced by the early Church, prior to receiving the Eucharist, and was recorded by the early Christian apologist Tertullian, who discussed it involving a basin of “water for the saints’ feet”, along with a “linen towel”

Many denominations (including AnglicansLutheransMethodistsPresbyteriansMennonites, and Catholics) therefore observe the liturgical washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week. Moreover, for some denominations, foot-washing was an example, a pattern. Many groups throughout Church history and many modern denominations have practiced foot washing as a church ordinance including AdventistsAnabaptistsBaptistsFree Will Baptists, and Pentecostals.

Maundy Thursday – also referred to as Holy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, when Jesus Christ held the last supper and washed his apostles’ feet.

Navigium Isidis or Isidis Navigium (trans. the vessel of Isis) was an annual ancient Roman religious festival in honor of the goddess Isis, held on March 5. The festival outlived Christian persecution by Theodosius (391) and Arcadius’ persecution against the Roman religion (395).

In the Roman Empire, it was still celebrated in Italy at least until the year 416. In Egypt, it was suppressed by Christian authorities in the 6th century.

The Navigium Isidis celebrated Isis’ influence over the sea and served as a prayer for the safety of seafarers and, eventually, of the Roman people and their leaders. It consisted of an elaborate procession, including Isiac priests and devotees with a wide variety of costumes and sacred emblems, carrying a model ship from the local Isis temple to the sea or to a nearby river.

Modern carnival resembles the festival of the Navigium Isidis. and some scholars argue that they share the same origin (via carrus navalis, meaning naval wagon, i.e. float – later becoming car-nival). Many elements of Carnival were in turn appropriated in the Corpus Christi festival, most prominently in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal).

Palm Sunday – The Sunday before Easter.

Pancake Day – see Shrove Tuesday

Pascha – See Easter

Paschal Season – See Eastertide

Paschaltime – See Eastertide

Paschaltide – See Eastertide

Passion Sunday – the fifth Sunday of Lent, marking the beginning of Passiontide. In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church removed Passiontide from the liturgical year of the Novus Ordo, but it is still observed in the Extraordinary Form, the Personal Ordinariates, and by some Anglicans and Lutherans.

In Scotland, the day is known as Care Sunday      

Passiontide (in the Christian liturgical year) – a name for the last two weeks of Lent, beginning on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, long celebrated as Passion Sunday, and continuing through Lazarus Saturday. It commemorates the suffering of Christ (Latin passio = “suffering”). The second week of Passiontide is Holy Week, ending on Holy Saturday.

Passover – also called Pesach is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the Biblical story of the Israelites escape from slavery in Egypt,[3] which occurs on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan (always a Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday), the first month of Aviv, or spring. The word Pesach or Passover can also refer to the Korban Pesach, the paschal lamb that was offered when the Temple in Jerusalem stood; to the Passover Seder, the ritual meal on Passover night; or to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. One of the biblically ordained Three Pilgrimage Festivals, Passover is traditionally celebrated in the Land of Israel for seven days and for eight days among many Jews in the Diaspora, based on the concept of yom tov sheni shel galuyot. In the Bible, the seven-day holiday is known as Chag HaMatzot, the feast of unleavened bread (matzah).[4]

According to the Book of Exodus, God (Yahweh) commanded Moses to tell the Israelites to mark a lamb’s blood above their doors in order that the Angel of Death would pass over them (i.e., that they would not be touched by the tenth plaguedeath of the firstborn). After the death of the firstborn, Pharaoh ordered the Israelites to leave, taking whatever they want, and asked Moses to bless him in the name of the Lord. The passage goes on to state that the Passover sacrifice recalls the time when God “passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt”. This story is recounted at the Passover meal in the form of the Haggadah, in fulfillment of the command “And thou shalt tell [Higgadata] thy son in that day, saying: It is because of that which the LORD did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.”

The wave offering of barley was offered at Jerusalem on the second day of the festival. The counting of the sheaves is still practiced, for seven weeks until the Feast of Weeks on the 50th day, the holiday of Shavuot.

Nowadays, in addition to the biblical prohibition of owning leavened foods for the duration of the holiday, the Passover Seder, at which the Haggadah is read aloud, is one of the most widely observed rituals in Judaism.

Pedelavium – See Maundy

Pedilavium – See Maundy

Pentecost –  (also called Whit SundayWhitsunday or Whitsun) is a Christian holiday which takes place on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) after Easter Sunday. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1–31).

In Western Christianity, Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) after Easter Sunday. In the United Kingdom, traditionally the next day, Whit Monday, was until 1970 a public holiday. Since 1971, by statute, the last Monday in May has been a Bank Holiday. The Monday after Pentecost is a legal holiday in many European countries.

In Eastern Christianity, Pentecost can also refer to the entire fifty days of Easter through Pentecost inclusive; hence the book containing the liturgical texts is called the “Pentecostarion“.

Since its date depends on the date of Easter, Pentecost is a “moveable feast“.

Pentecost is one of the Great feasts in the Eastern Orthodox Church, a Solemnity in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, a Festival in the Lutheran Churches, and a Principal Feast in the Anglican Communion. Many Christian denominations provide a special liturgy for this holy celebration.

Pesach – see Passover

Pork Sunday – see Quinquagesima

Pre-Lenten Season – see Shrovetide

Quinquagesima – in the Western Christian Churches, is the last Sunday of Shrovetide, being the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. It is also called Quinquagesima SundayQuinquagesimaeEstomihiShrove SundayPork Sunday, or the Sunday next before Lent.

Quinquagesima Sunday, being the Lord’s Day prior to the start of the Lenten season, is known for its meat consumption as people wished to feast before starting their fast on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Historically Lutheran countries such as Denmark mark Quinquagesima Sunday as the peak of the Fastelavn. After attending the Divine Service on Shrove Sunday, congregants enjoy Shrovetide buns (fastelavnsboller). Children often dress up and collect money from people while singing. Christians in these nations carry Shrovetide rods (fastelavnsris), which “branches decorated with sweets, little presents, etc., that are used to decorate the home or give to children.”

In the Revised Common Lectionary the Sunday before Lent is designated “Transfiguration Sunday”, and the gospel reading is the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus from Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Some churches whose lectionaries derive from the RCL, e.g. the Church of England, use these readings but do not designate the Sunday “Transfiguration Sunday”.

Quinquagesima Sunday – see Quinquagesima

Quinquagesimae – see Quinquagesima 

Resurrection Sunday – See Easter

Rogation days – days of prayer and fasting in Western Christianity. They are observed with processions and the Litany of the Saints. The so-called major rogation is held on 25 April; the minor rogations are held on Monday to Wednesday preceding Ascension Thursday. The word rogation comes from the Latin verb rogare, meaning “to ask”, which reflects the beseeching of God for the appeasement of his anger and for protection from calamities.

The reform of the Liturgical Calendar, in the United States, for Roman Catholics in 1969 delegated the establishment of Rogation Days, along with Ember Days, to the episcopal conferences. Their observance in the Latin Church subsequently declined, but the observance has revived somewhat since Pope John Paul II allowed Rogation days as a permitted, but not mandated, observance. For those Catholics who continue to celebrate Mass according to the General Roman Calendar of 1960 or earlier, the Rogation Days are still kept, unless a higher ranking feast would occur on the day.

Rogation Sunday – In the Anglican tradition, Rogation Sunday is celebrated on the 5th Sunday after Easter (also known as the 6th Sunday of Easter).

Sabado de Gloria – See Holy Saturday

Saturday of Glory – See Holy Saturday

Septuagesima Sunday – the name for the ninth Sunday before Easter, the third before Ash Wednesday. The term is sometimes applied to the seventy days starting on Septuagesima Sunday and ending on the Saturday after Easter. Alternatively, the term is sometimes applied also to the period commonly called Shrovetide or Gesimatide (the Pre-Lenten Season) that begins on this day and ends on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins.

The other two Sundays in this period of the liturgical year are called Sexagesima and Quinquagesima, the latter sometimes also called Shrove Sunday. The earliest date on which Septuagesima Sunday can occur is January 18 (Easter falling on March 22 in a common year) and the latest is February 22 (Easter falling on April 25 in a leap year).

The 17-day period beginning on Septuagesima Sunday was intended to be observed as a preparation for the season of Lent, which is itself a period of spiritual preparation (for Easter). In many countries, however, Septuagesima Sunday marked and still marks the traditional start of the carnival season, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, sometimes known as Mardi Gras.

In the pre-1970 Roman Rite liturgy, the Alleluia ceases to be said during the liturgy. At first Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday, two alleluias are added to the closing verse of Benedicamus Domino and its response, Deo gratias, as during the Easter Octave, and, starting at Compline, it is no longer used until Easter. Likewise, violet vestments are worn, except on feasts, from Septuagesima Sunday until Holy Thursday. As during Advent and Lent, the Gloria and Te Deum are no longer said on Sundays.

The readings at Matins for this week are the first few chapters of Genesis, telling of the creation of the world, of Adam and Eve, the fall of man and resulting expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and the story of Cain and Abel. In the following weeks before and during Lent, the readings continue to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. The Gospel reading for Septuagesima week is the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).

Sexagesima Sunday – the name for the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday in the pre-1970 Roman Rite liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, and also in that of some Protestant denominations, particularly those with Lutheran and Anglican origins. Sexagesima falls within the liturgical period of Shrovetide.

On Sexagesima, individuals are encouraged to evaluate their current spiritual state and prepare themselves to enter the season of Lent. Such preparations can include confession and such reflections as would be profitable and in keeping with the themes of Septuagesima.

The name “Sexagesima” is derived from the Latin sexagesimus, meaning “sixtieth”, and appears to be a back-formation of Quinquagesima, the term formerly used to denote the last Sunday before Lent. The latter name alluding to the fact that there are fifty days between that Sunday and Easter, if one counts both days themselves in the total as was the usual custom of the Roman Empire.

Through the same process, the Sunday before Sexagesima Sunday was formerly known as Septuagesima Sunday, and marked the start of the Pre-Lenten Season which eventually became the time for carnival celebrations throughout Europe. This custom was later exported to places settled or colonized by Europeans.

While Quinquagesima (50th day) is mathematically correct, allowing for the inclusive counting, Sexagesima and Septuagesima are only approximations. The exact number of days are 57 and 64 respectively. The earliest Sexagesima can occur is January 25 and the latest is February 28, or February 29 in a leap year.

Shrovetide – also known as the Pre-Lenten Season, is the Christian period of preparation before the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent.

Shrovetide starts on Septuagesima Sunday, includes Sexagesima SundayQuinquagesima Sunday (commonly called Shrove Sunday), as well as Shrove Monday, and culminates on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras.

During Shrovetide, and especially on Shrove Tuesday, many Christians confess their sins, in preparation for the somber season Lent.

Shrove Tuesday – also called  Pancake Day is the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), observed in many Christian countries through participating in confession and absolution, the ritual burning of the previous year’s Holy Week palms, finalizing one’s Lenten sacrifice, as well as eating pancakes and other sweets.

Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including AnglicansLutheransMethodists and Roman Catholics, who “make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God’s help in dealing with.” This moveable feast is determined by Easter. The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “absolve“.

As this is the last day of the Christian liturgical season historically known as Shrovetide, before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one might give up as their Lenten sacrifice for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations. The term Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. Many Christian congregations thus observe the day through eating pancakes or, more specifically, the holding of pancake breakfasts, as well as the ringing of church bells to remind people to repent of their sins before the start of Lent.  On Shrove Tuesday, churches also burn the palms distributed during the previous year’s Palm Sunday liturgies to make the ashes used during the services held on the very next day, Ash Wednesday.

In some Christian countries, especially those where the day is called Mardi Gras or a translation thereof, it is a carnival day, the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.

Shrove Sunday – see Quinquagesima

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – see Feast of Corpus Christi

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – see Trinity Sunday

Sprengidagur – See Fastelavn

Spy Wednesday – the day the betrayal of Jesus Christ is mourned. See Holy Wednesday.

Sunday Next Before Lent – see Quinquagesima

Tenebrae – (Latin for “darkness”) is a religious service of Western Christianity held during the three days preceding Easter Day, and characterized by gradual extinguishing of candles, and by a “strepitus” or “loud noise” taking place in total darkness near the end of the service.

Tenebrae was originally a celebration of matins and lauds of the last three days of Holy Week (Maundy ThursdayGood Friday, and Holy Saturday) in the evening of the previous day (Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) to the accompaniment of special ceremonies that included the display of lighted candles on a special triangular candelabra.

Modern celebrations called Tenebrae may be of quite different content and structure, based for example on the Seven Last Words or readings of the Passion of Jesus. They may be held on only one day of Holy Week, especially Spy Wednesday (Holy Wednesday). They may be held during the daylight hours and the number of candles, if used, may vary.

Tenebrae liturgical celebrations of this kind now exist in the Catholic Church‘s Latin liturgical ritesLutheranismAnglicanismMethodismReformed churches and Western Rite Orthodoxy.

The original form in the Catholic Church, “Tenebrae” is the name given to the celebration, with special ceremonies, of matins and lauds, the first two hours of the Divine Office of each of the last three days of Holy Week. In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church Tenebrae was celebrated in all churches with a sufficient number of clergy until the liturgical reforms of Pope Pius XII in the 1950s. The traditions regarding this service go back at least to the ninth century. Matins, originally celebrated a few hours after midnight, and lauds, originally celebrated at dawn, were anticipated by the late Middle Ages on the afternoon or evening of the preceding day, and were given the name “Tenebrae” because concluding when darkness was setting in.

The celebration of matins and lauds of these days on the previous evening in the form referred to as Tenebrae in churches with a sufficient number of clergy was universal in the Roman Rite until the reform of the Holy Week ceremonies by Pope Pius XII in 1955. He restored the Easter Vigil as a night office, moving that Easter liturgy from Holy Saturday morning to the following night and likewise moved the principal liturgies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday from morning to afternoon or evening. Thus matins and lauds of Good Friday and Holy Saturday could no longer be anticipated on the preceding evening, and even matins and lauds of Holy Thursday was allowed to be anticipated only in the case of cathedral churches in which the Chrism Mass was held on Holy Thursday morning.

The 1960 Code of Rubrics, which was incorporated in the next typical edition of the Roman Breviary, published on 5 April 1961, a year ahead of the publication of the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, allowed no anticipation whatever of lauds, though matins alone could still be anticipated to the day before, later than the hour of vespers.

In sum:

  • Until 1955 the three consecutive Tenebrae services for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, including the typical ceremonies such as the extinguishing of candles, with each of these three services anticipated on the previous evening, were widely celebrated as an integral part of the liturgy of Holy Week in churches with a sufficient number of clergy wherever the Roman Rite was followed. A rich tradition of music composed for these central occasions had developed.
  • From 1956 to 1970 the practice largely declined:
    • The 1955 papal document restored the celebration of matins and lauds of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday to their original timing as morning services, with only a little allowance for anticipating any of them on the evening before. On these three days attention shifted from what became morning services to the services that were now to be held in the afternoon or evening. Communal celebration of matins and lauds became limited generally to communities that observed the full Divine Office in congregational form. Matins and lauds, having lost their exceptional character, provided composers with little incentive to produce new music for them and there was no demand for grand performances of the existing music earlier composed for Tenebrae.
    • The Roman Breviary, as updated in 1961, did not mention any specific Tenebrae ceremonies to accompany the no longer anticipated matins and lauds of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
  • Finally, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, matins and lauds throughout the year were completely reformed. Matins, for instance, no longer had the nine psalms and lauds the five psalms that determined the number of candles extinguished in the Tenebrae celebration.

Trinity Sunday – the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity. Trinity Sunday celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In the Catholic Church, it is officially known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Prior to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, it marked the end of a three-week period during which church weddings were forbidden. The period began on Rogation Sunday, the fifth Sunday after Easter. The prescribed liturgical color is white.

In the traditional Divine Office, the Athanasian Creed (Quicumque vult) is said on this day at Prime. Before 1960, it was said on all Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost which do not fall within Octaves or on which a feast of Double rank or higher was celebrated or commemorated, as well as on Trinity Sunday. The 1960 reforms reduced it to once a year, on this Sunday.

In the 1962 Missal, the Mass for the First Sunday After Pentecost is not said or commemorated on Sunday (it is permanently impeded there by Trinity Sunday), but is used during the week if the ferial Mass is being said.

The Thursday after Trinity Sunday is observed as the Feast of Corpus Christi. In some countries, including the United StatesCanada, and Spain, it may be celebrated on the following Sunday, when the faithful are more likely to attend Mass and be able to celebrate the feast.

Vastlapaev – see Fastelvn

Washing of the Saint’s feet – see Maundy

Washing of the feet – see Maundy

Whitsun – see Pentecost

Whit Sunday – see Pentecost

Whitsunday – see Pentecost

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