Traditional Roman Liturgy and Christmas Pudding

Here is a nice, short article on the so-called Stir-up Sunday. I would only argue that this tradition is not only Anglican but is also Roman.  I always thought this was sometime in Advent, but, alas, it is the last Sunday before Advent, which this year was November 30—as I jokingly called it, the “Sunday within the Octave of Thanksgiving.”

Incidentally, from the last Sunday before Advent through the Fourth Sunday of Advent, all but one of the Collects begins with excita, the Latin word which is translated “stir up.” Consequently, I was never sure which one was Stir-Up Sunday; I always figured it to be closer to Christmas.

In any case, the age-old tradition is that people would go to church and hear “excita” and know that it was time to stir up the Christmas pudding. It is, in truth, a quaint and innocuous custom—hardly the red meat that built the Medieval cathedrals or wrote the polyphony of Leonin and Perotin–but it is nonetheless an example of the mutual discourse between religion and culture which is presently absent. In this subject area, contemporary Christianity of all types (well, maybe not Eastern Orthodoxy…) has chosen various swords of stupidity on which to fall. Some insist on a “dialogue” with culture which ultimately co-opts the most vapid aspects of peasant taste. Others pride themselves on not being of the world and therefore eschew anything that is less than a century old. Both approaches are suicidal.

A solution for this? I’ll have to think about that.

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2 Responses

  1. In the Book of Common Prayer, the only day that you have a ‘stir up’ collect is the “Sunday next before Advent”. The Advent collects differ from the Roman ones. After having also checked the Lutheran Common Service Book, which also uses the Gallican propers it appears that the Anglican Advent collects are pure Protestant invention. (I always knew that Advent II was made up, but wasn’t sure about the other ones.) The Lutherans have the same ‘stir up’ collects as the Roman Catholics.

    http://mysite.verizon.net/missale/#advent

    http://books.google.com/books?id=M5sUAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Common+Service#PPA41,M1

    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1789/Readings1789&1892A.htm

  2. BTW, the last Sunday before Advent was November 23; November 30 was Advent Sunday.

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