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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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In a religious sense is a ceremony of feasting and thanksgiving. The principal feasts of the Jews were the feasts of trumpets, of expiation, of tabernacles, or the dedication, of the passover, of Pentecost, and that of purification. Feasts, and the ceremonies thereof, have made great part of the religion of almost all nations and sects; hence the Greeks, the Romans, Mahometans, and Christians, have not been without them. Feasts, among us, are either immoveable or moveable. Immoveable feasts are those constantly celebrated on the same day of the year. The principal of these are Christmas-day, Circumcision, Epiphany, Candlemas or Purification; Lady-day, or the annunciation, called also the incarnation and conception; All Saints and All Souls; besides the days of the several apostles, as St. Thomas, St. Paul. Moveable feasts are those which are not confined to the same day of the year.

Of these the principal is Easter, which gives law to all the rest, all of them following and keeping their proper distances from it. Such are Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Ash Wednesday, Sexagesima, Ascension-day, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday. Besides these feasts, which are general, and enjoined by the church, there are others focal and occasional, enjoined by the magistrate, or voluntarily set on foot by the people; such are the days of thanksgiving for delivery from war, plagues, &c.; such also are the vigils or wakes in commemoration of the dedication of particular churches. The prodigious increase of feast-days in the Christian church, commenced towards the close of the fourth century, occasioned by the discovery that was made of the remains of martyrs, and other holy men, for the commemoration of whom they were established. These, instead of being set apart for pious exercises, were abused in indolence, voluptuousness, and criminal practices. Many of them were instituted on a pagan model, and perverted to similar purposes.


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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Feast'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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