2021 A to Z: Letter A…Weird Holidays

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2021 A to Z: Letter A

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Feast of the Ass Day (January 14)

The Feast of the Ass (Latin: Festum Asinorum or asinaria festa, French: Fête de l’âne) was a medieval, Christian feast observed on 14 January, celebrating the Flight into Egypt. It was celebrated primarily in France, as a by-product of the Feast of Fools celebrating the donkey-related stories in the Bible, in particular the donkey bearing the Holy Family into Egypt after Jesus’s birth.

The Feast of the Ass had its origins in Paganism, being derived from the religious feast called Cervulus. During this bestial-based holy day, a ceremony often took place in which a girl with a baby (or a pregnant girl) was led through a village on a donkey, followed by churchgoers answering the priest with “hee-haws” during the related church service or Mass.  In some accounts, the priest himself would bray.  

Oddly enough, the date of the Feast of the Asses is also the birthday of Benedict Arnold; coincidence much?

Stamp details:
Stamp on top: Issued on: December 21, 1966 From: Amman, Jordan MC #631
Stamp in middle: Issued on: June 20, 1960 From: Dublin, Ireland MC #144
Stamp on bottom: Issued on: April 7, 1960 From: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg MC #619

The Flight Into Egypt
Circa 1430, The Flight Into Egypt’ Mary and Joseph fleeing into Egypt with the baby Jesus.
Original Artist: By Fra Angelico (1387 – 1455)
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Featured image: “A is for Absorb” from Digital Synopsis, created by UK based graphic designers Liam + Jord

One comment

  1. I’m learning new things here, I had never heard of this! And how nice to see the stamps, it makes me realise they are a disappearing concept, as postage is stamped on by machines, we can do it online, etc. I remember collecting stamps as a child, and this was one of my first ways of discovering countries and languages beyond my own!

    Like

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