For a historical review of the festal system the
priestly document furnishes the basis, since it is
the most developed. The classical passages are
Ezekiel (xlv. 17-xlvi. 15) omits Pentecost, and locates the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, with a seven days' use of unleavened bread, with daily sacrifice of burnt offerings, foodofferings, and sin-offerings. And he places the feast of tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, continuing seven days with special offerings. On the days of new moon and Sabbath, offerings are required, and a daily, morning offering consisting of burnt offering and food-offering. On the first day of the first and of the seventh month the sanctuary is to be cleansed by the blood of a sinoffering. Thus Ezekiel is close to the Priest Code, though the prince makes the offerings in the name of the people, the feasts are fewer, atonement day appears to be semiyearly, and the g. Compsri-household Passover is not mentioned.son of The Deuteronomic passage is xvi.1-17, ether and deals with three great festivals at Codes, the central sanctuary. .In the month of Abib occurs the Passover, not a celebration at home, but at the central sanctuary and for a single day, though unleavened bread is ass to be eaten for seven days in memory of the hurried flight from Egypt. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks after the commencement of harvest at the central sanctuary with enjoyment of the gifts brought. The feast of tabernacles is loosely placed at the close of the harvest and vintage and is also celebrated at the central sanctuary. Thus Deuter onomy differs from the Priest Code and Ezekiel in not fixing exactly the time of celebration, the accompaniment of sin-offering is lacking, and the offerings are not those of the community as a whole, but are. enjoyed as festal meals. The Sabbath celebration is provided for in the Deuteronomio decalogue, and the basis is humanitarian. There is no Sabbatical or jubilee year, though a release of Hebrew debtors and slaves takes place. The festival of new moon does not appear, still less the day of atonement or the double temple cleansing of Ezekiel. The exposition of the Yahwiatic Code is complicated by Deuteronomic redaction of the passages which deal with the festivals (
Yahwistic Code stand at the two extremes oP the development, with Ezekiel and Deuteronomy coming in between; and, further, it is clear that the order is JE, Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, and P. The historical writings confirm this result.
;. Order of Thus in
Develop- made of a festival of the Priest Code meat of the (feast of booths) of which it is ea
Codes. pressly said " since the days of Joshua
. had not the children of Israel
done so." In
sacrificial feast in the city of Samuel is mentioned
The ethical character of the religion of Israel per-
Detailed examination leads to the conclusion that festivals of an agricultural character became religious observances, and at the same time the earlier character of family or local celebration changed and took a national form. The separation from the natural circumstances of their celebration is marked by exact determination of dates, while new occasions of purely religious significance came in, such as the two purifications of
Ezekiel and the day of atonement.
Deuteronomy is the turning-point, where the festivals still have as a motive rejoicing before Yahweh
(xiv. 26, xvi. 11); but the first step toward the
the festivals from the environment of
nature amid which they arose and the determination of a religious purpose was taken in the centralization of the cultus. Only in the case of the
Passover the Priest Code breaks with Deuteronomy
and Ezekiel and makes the celebration a home
affair, and the lamb loses its sacrificial character.
The festal character of these celebrations was not
wholly lost under the Priest Code, as is shown by
the feast of booths; and Lev. xxiii. still retains
recollection of the connection of the three principal
feasts with agriculture. The question whether
these three, the feasts of unleavened bread, Pentecost and tabernacles, were instituted prophetically
by Moses or arose among the Hebrews by adoption
from the Canaanites has been variously answered.
Besides the festivals already mentioned, two arose
in later times. One of these is Purim, the origin
of which Esther purports to give, called in
II. Christian: The primitive Church apparently
knew no special feast-days at the first. With the abrogation of the Mosaic law, its feasts also ceased,
it passed for perverted Judaizing legality to
retain them (cf.
There were also annually recurring feasts in the earliest time. Probably the paschal feast (see Easter) was always celebrated in some way, preeminently by the Jewish Christians in connection with their former celebration of thez. Annual Passover, for memorial of the cruci- Feasts. fixion and resurrection of Jesus. It was succeeded by a fifty-day season of rejoicing, from which afterward Ascension and Pentecost (qq.v.) grew forth with peculiar solem nity, and was preceded by a season of mourning, attended with fasting of varying length and observance. The institution of these festal cele brations was held to be an affair of ecclesiastical ordering, and often required special justification in the light of New Testament liberty. The first Christian festival which had no connection with feasts of Israel is that of the Epiphany (q.v.). It was fixed on a definite day of the year (Jan. 6) and is thus an "immovable feast," unlike Easter and the festivals dependent on it, which vary from year to year (see Church Year; Easter), and hence are known as "movable feasts." The Epiphany was originally the festival of Christ's baptism. The nativity festival (see Christmas) first occurs in the West from the middle of the fourth century. In the East, so late as the fifth century, they still celebrated both the birth and baptism of the Lord on Epiphany. In the sixth century, the feast of the circumcision of Christ was introduced as the octave of Nativity; preceding that time, the first of January had been widely observed as a penitential day, with attendant fasting, in order to restrain Christians from the pagan new year festivities (see New Year Festival). The Christmas feast was ushered in by a preliminary festal season (see Advent), originally of longer duration, but afterward restricted to four weeks; this, too, was a season of penance and fasting in the West (see Fasting, II.).
The three principal festivals, Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas, which with their preceding and
The large number of "holy days of obligation" (i.e., in the Roman Catholic system, days which must be kept by attendance at mass and abstinence from unnecessary servile work) observed in the countries of Western Europe in the latter part of the Middle Ages constituted a real economic difficulty, and there were many com plaints of it. When the Reformation began, its tendency was to sweep away the far greater number of such observances. Luther was at first in clined to think that Sunday alone should be kept; but in 1528 he and Melanchthon recommended the observance of Christmas, New Year's Day (Circumcision of Christ), Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost, and allowed, as feasts of the second class, those which had Scriptural warrant. Ger man custom often postpones the celebration of secondary feasts to the following Sunday. The Church of England retained the feasts just named and certain others commonly called (from the old rubricated printing of the prayer-book) " red letter" days, with special services, and kept a number of "black-letter" or minor festivals in the calendar, with no provision for their observance. The American Episcopal Church retained the red letter days, and even added to them at the last revision the Transfiguration of Christ (Aug. 6), but omitted the black-letter days from the calendar.* In the Reformed churches as a rule all rt According to the Anglican prayer-books the feasts to be observed throughout the year are as follows. All Sundays; the Circumcision (Jan. 1); the Epiphany (Jan. 8); the Converato of St. Paul (Jan. 25); the Purification of the Blessed Virgin (Feb. 2); St. Matthias the Apostle (Feb. 24; in leap- festivals except Sunday were abolished. Since the middle of the last century there has been a tendency to appoint new festivals; e.g., the German Reformation festival (end of October or beginning of November) and so called festival of the dead (on the last Sunday of the church year in memory of all who have died in course of the year), harvest festival, children's day, missionary Sunday, and the like. National memorial days are often celebrated with religious services. The New England fast-day (see Fast-DAY) and Thanksgiving (q.v.) deserve special mention. The custom of celebrating Easter and Christmas with floral decorations, special music, and Sermons on the events commemorated is increasing among all non-liturgical churches.
The tendency in the Roman Catholic Church since the Reformation has been constantly to add new saints' days and other feasts to the calendar, with liturgical observance, but on the other hand to diminish the number of holy days of obligation; thus in the United States at the present time there are none (outside of Sundays) but the Feast of the Circumcision (Jan. 1), the Ascension, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (Aug. 15), All Saints' Day (Nov. 1), the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), and Christmas.
Bibliography: ; I. J. F. L. George. Die älteren jüdlischen Feste, Berlin, 1835; H. Ewald, De feriarum Hebrœarum origins et ratione, Göttingen, 1841; idem, Alterthümer, pp. 130 sqq.; 151 sqq., 441 sqq., ib. 1866, Eng. transl., pp. 89 sqq., 113 sqq., 334 sqq., Boston, 1878: H. Hupfeld, De primitiva et vera festorum apud Hebraos ratione, Halle, 1851-4b: F. Bachmann, Die Feetpceetse den PantateucAa, Berlin, 1868: J. Wellhauaen, Prolegomena. pp. 83-1?0: A. Ederaheim, Th. Temple: its Ministry and ,ger_,,eee, pp. 1q4-300, London. 1874; B. Stade, Geschichte Israela, i. 498-503, Berlin, 1884; W. H. Green, The Hebrew Easels in their Relation to Recant Critical Hypotheses, New York 1885 (antiaritienl); J. T. de Viseer, Hebreeutoaehe Archaeologie. L 412 sqq., Utrecht, 1891; J. Robertson, Early Religion of Israel, passim, Edinburgh, 1892; H. Schultz, Ofd Testament Theology, i. 359-369 et passim, ii. 87-100, London, 1892; Benzinger, Archäologie, pp. 388 stq. et passim; Nowack, Archäologie, ii. 138203; Smith, Prophets, pp. 38, 68 384: idem, OTJC, passim; DD, i. 859-883: EB, n. 1505 sqq., 1509 sqq.; JE, v. 374-378; ICL, iv. 1438-47.
II. Bingham, Origines, book XX.; cf. XIII. ix. 8-7; J. C. W. Auguati, flandbuch der christlichen Archaeologie, i. 457-595. Leipsic, 1838 (especially useful): R. Nelson, Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England, reprinted London, 1810; F. Creuser, Symbolik and Mythofopie der alten Völker, iv. 2, pp. 577-814. Leipsic, 1821 (compares Christian cycle of festivals with pre-Christian celebrations); A. J. Binterim, Denkw4rdipkeiten, v. 1, pp. 119 sqq. Mainz, 1829; A. Butler, Movable Feasts, Fasts . . of the Catholic Church, Dublin, 1839; J. H. Hobart, Festi vals and Feasts. London, 1887: H. Grotefend, Zeit redtnutty du n Mitkfaltera und der Neuzeit; Han- year Feb. 25 in the Roman Catholic Church); the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin (Mar. 25); St. Mark the Evangelist (Apr. 25); St. Philip and St. James the Apostles (May 1): the Ascension; St. Barnabas the Apostle (June 11); the Nativity of St. John Baptist (June 24); St. Peter the/Apostle (June 29): St. James the Apostle (July 25); the Transfiguration (Au;. 8: in the American Episcopal Church only); St. Bartholomew the Apostle (Aug. 24); St. Matthew tine Apostle (Sept, 2t); St. Michael and All Angela (Sept. 29); St. Luke the Evangelist (Oct. 18); St. Simon and St. Jude the Apostles (Oct. 28): All Saints (Nov. 1); St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30); St. Thomas the Apostle e (Dec. 211; the Nativity (Dec. 25): St. Stephen the Martyr n (Dec. 28); St. John the Evangelist (Dec. 27); the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28): Monday and Tuesday in Easter-week; Monday and Tuesday in WhiWUn-week.
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