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I just purchased a new book from our store called "The Catholic Source Book." It's like an encyclopedia of Catholicism, and includes some interesting legends, customs and their origins. I thought it might be fun to post the chapter on LENT, seeing as it is now upon us!  [Image: 10009092~The-Green-Man-Depicted-as-One-o...osters.jpg]SHROVETIDE: The three days before Ash Wednesday, got its name from Shrove Tuesday, which got its name from the reconciliation sought before Lent: To "shrive" is to hear confession, assign penance, and give absolution. One is "shriven" of guilt through repentance, making these days of glad tidings, sport, and merriment before the rigors of Lent.  Hall Sunday, Hall Monday, and Hall Night were names used for the same time and reason: "Hall" is a contraction of hallow, which means holy, festive. Still others would speak of Merry Monday.   Feasting--food and drink--became the staples of a play, preparing a person (as well as a pantry) for the fasting. And so the names came: [Image: carling.gif] Carling Sunday, from the custom, especially in Northern Europe, of eating parched peas fried in butter (carlings) and the quite unpuritanical Blue Monday, a day supposedly spent in dissipation, which, some say, gives a blue tinge to everything. For others, these two days were Callop Monday and Pancake Day, because of the foods specially prepared and served then. The practice originated in the effort to use up eggs, milk, and lard before Lent (Agnus Dei, you were right!), with its strict conditions for fasting.  Finally on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French) the carnival celebration, feasted on rich foods and pastries in anticipation of the rigors of Lent and in order to use up certain foods that were not even kept in the house during the Fast.  [/url] [Image: spring_clipart_tree_flowers.gif]SPRINGTIME'S NEW YEAR: The New Orleans Mardi Gras imported from France resembles New Year's Eve, because they are related. In ancient times, the year began in spring and was celebrated in primitive renewal rites, like the modern New Year's Eve celebrations. Carnival (meaning in Latin "farewell to meat") originally designated this pre-Lenten season for Christians, a season lasting sometimes from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday, sometimes only a few days, but always culminating in Mardi Gras, a French term meaning, in plain English, "Fat Tuesday."    [Image: lent.gif]LENTEN SEASON: Historically, Lent was the retreat-like final preparation period for catechumens, those being initiated into the Church and into the Paschal Mystery at the Easter Vigil. Naturally enough, it became a renewal period for the already baptized faithful, inspired by the conversion of the catechumens. It was also a time of penance for those enrolled in the Order of Penitents, an early form of the Sacrament of Penance, limited to serious sinners. The whole Church came to adapt Lent as a penitential season whereby the faithful initiated both catechumens and serious sinners in doing penance.  The word "Lent" is from the Anglo-Saxon lencten (spring). Lenctentid (springtide) was the Saxon name for March because it is the month in which days begin to lengthen (also a root of "lent"). The Great Fast, falling as it does largely in the month of March, adopted and adapted the term.  
 [url=][Image: color_rose.jpg]THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT: This Sunday has had many aliases:
Laetare Sunday: The word Laetare comes from the first words of the Introit: Laetare, Jerusalem ("Rejoice with Jerusalem," Isaiah 66:10). This halfway point and respite in the penitential season is marked by rose vestments instead of purple. There is a joyful note at the point in Lent because of the ancient practice of "Handing Over" the Apostles Creed to catechumens, the last and decisive step for those preparing for Baptism. Mothering Sunday: The early Christians would have been deeply conscious of their own spiritual birth and life. Not surprisingly, the ancient and indulgenced custom of visiting one's "mother church" or cathedral developed on this same day of Laetare Sunday. Small countryside chapels served as the weekly gathering places for liturgy, but on this Sunday all would go with their offerings to the mother church of the parish, where they had been baptized.  [Image: Simnel%20Cake0.jpg]  In a natural evolution of this pilgrimage, children would also return home to spend the day with their parents. They brought "mother cakes" and simnel cakes having been prepared especially for this occasion. Naturally, roses were the traditional flowers for the day, because rose was the color of the vestments and the decoration on the altars. After Mass, the roses were taken to mothers. One tradition presents Mothering Sunday as an honor to St. Anne, the Blessed Virgin's mother, when children would go "a mothering" and bring flowers, gifts, and sweets to their moms. Long before Anna Jarvis held her service to honor all mothers, long before President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 proclaimed the second Sunday of May Mothers' Day, folks were honoring their mothers, spiritual and natural, on this Fourth Sunday of Lent. Reflection Sunday: (Latin: refreshment, repast). This Sunday is so named because the Scripture readings at Mass included the story of Joseph feeding his brothers and Jesus feeding the multitude. On this day in certain locales, it was traditional to serve rich simnel cakes. Ornamented with scallops, they commemorated the food spoken of in the readings.  [Image: Santa_Fe_Yellow_Rose_150.jpg]  Rose Sunday: This name comes from the papal blessing of the golden rose, a symbol of spiritual joy. The floral spray was blessed by the pope on the Fourth Sunday of Lent and sent to some notable person or institution to acknowledge and honor special service or loyalty. There is a small container of musk and balsam in the heart of the spray's principal rose.   [Image: SKC_132.jpg]THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT: It has long been the tradition in the Church to cover all crucifixes, statues, and icons in purple cloth from two Sundays before Easter to Good Friday. Traditionally, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, one week before Palm Sunday, was called Passion Sunday or Judica Sunday after the first word of the Introit: "Judge me, O Lord..." (see Psalm 43). The veiling referred to the closing words of the Sunday's Gospel, "They picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple" (John 8:59). The Lenten veil expressed the sorrow of the Church at this time.  Slavic Ritual of Petitions and Palms: In various places, but especially in Slavic countries, it was customary to use the blessed palms of Passion Sunday in a domestic ritual. The whole farm family walked through their buildings and fields on that Sunday afternoon, praying and singing ancient hymns. A palm piece was placed in each plot of ground, pasture, and plowland, in every outbuilding, barn, and stable, as petition was made for protection from bad weather, storms and disease and for blessing on produce and property. In a few weeks I'll post the chapter on Holy Week.  - Lisa
That was really nice to read!  Thanks for posting it.
You're very welcome! I typed that out by hand, going from the book propped up on my desk. Not some easy cut-and-paste! So it's nice to know someone is reading it.  Smile
- Lisa 
Thank you for posting this.  I enjoyed it very much.
You're welcome. Some of this stuff I didn't even know!

- Lisa
This is awesome stuff! Thanks Lisa!
Thank you for a very informative post. [Image: smile.gif]
Awesome graphic for lent.  I'm going to use that.
Thanks everybody. The book is FUN as well as educational. It even has a chapter on the popular phrases we use today that have a Biblical origin -- and cites the verse and chapter. I'll post that one of these days.
- Lisa
Wonderful stuff, Lisa. Thanks!
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