British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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204                                    ROGATION SUNDAY.                      [APRIL 26.
April 26.] ROGATION SUNDAY.
Rogation Sunday received and retains its title from the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday immediately following it, which are called Mogation Days, derived from the Lat'u rogare, to beseech; the earliest Christians having appro­priated extraordinary prayers and supplications fur those three days, as a preparation for the devout observance of our Saviour's Ascension on the day next succeeding to them, denominated Holy Thursday, or Ascension Day.
So early as the year 550, Claudius Mamerfcus, bishop of Vienne in France, extended the object of Rogation Days, before then solely applied to a preparation for the ensuing festival of the Ascension, by joining to that service other solemnities, in humble supplication for a blessing on the fruits of the earth at this season blossoming forth. Whether, as is asserted by some authors, Mamertus had cause to apprehend that any calamity might befall them by blight or otherwise at this particular period, or merely adapted a new Christian rite on the Roman terminalia, is a matter of dispute. Sidonius, bishop of Clermont, soon followed the example, and the first Council of Orleans, held in the sixth century, confirmed its observance throughout the Church. The whole week in which these days happen is styled Rogation Week; and in some parts it is still known by the other names of Cross Week, Grass Week, and Gang fir Procession Week: Rogation, in token of the extraordinary praying; Cross, because anciently that symbol was borne by the priest who officiated at the ceremonies of this season; Grass, from the peculiar abstinence observed, such as salads, green-sauce, &c, then substituted for flesh; and Gang, or Procession, from the accustomed perambulations. Supplica­tions and abstinence are yet enjoined by the Reformed Church, and also such part of the ceremony of the pro­cessions as relates to the perambulating of the circuit of parishes, conformably to the regulation made in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. One of our church homilies of the day is composed particularly for this occasion. " The people shall
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