Refreshment Sunday

So I have given up beer and cider for Lent… I lasted a whole three days before I broke my abstinence … but that was by ‘accident’ when I drank a beer without remembering that I was supposed to have given it up… It’s been tough since then, but not too bad!

Anyhow, I was amazed to note this atop the page of the closing Evensong hymn yesterday… I should have looked up its meaning, but as it ticked my humour, I took a photograph instead.

Refreshment Sundays

What I would have found out if I had bothered to look it up (let’s be honest… it’s better that I dont actually try to sing the hymns…) is that I could have marched strait out of the church, into the nearest pub, and enjoyed a pint of wonderful beer with the full approbation of all Western Christianity… Refreshment Sundays are times in Lent and Advent when ‘fasts’ are relaxed and all sorts of vow breaking goes on… They are also known as ‘Rose Sundays’ but I have no idea why; however on both Refreshment Sundays, the colour of liturgical vestments and various church paraphernalia are changed to rose.

The good news is that I have researched a bit, and found that the 4th Sunday in Lent is also (perhaps) a Refreshment Sunday…so I only have to wait a couple of weeks more… or just hang on till the end of Lent… its only a few weeks!



Filed under Oxford: The Perspiring Dream, Timology

2 responses to “Refreshment Sunday

  1. There is only ONE “Sunday of Light Relief” (or Refreshment Sunday) during each of the penitential seasons – the (approximately) middle Sunday in each case. They are Gaudete (the 3rd in Advent) and Laetare (4th in Lent). Your church was singing the hymn out-of-sequence yesterday, and that would NOT justify breaking your Lenten fast. The term “rose Sunday” is derived from the pink vestments, not the other way round; pink being a jollier shade of the purple which otherwise marks these penitential seasons. Laetare Sunday is commonly known as “Mothering Sunday”, and is the origin of the whole thing – a day when servants were given the day off to visit the mother church (cathedral) of the diocese, and to visit their own mothers, traditionally eating Simnel Cake with them (hence the relaxation of fasting rules). Mothering Sunday has been colloquially bastardised by Americanisation into “Mother’s Day”, which is a totally secular concept. The Church (and traditional social) festival is “Mothering Sunday” and celebrates all aspects and types of motherhood.

  2. Thanks Tim, and good to know that I had not missed a trick then… and thanks for the additional information about the origins and history… and also for reminding me of Mother’s day/Mothering Sunday rapidly approaching!

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