The Feast of the Ass is a fascinating and somewhat unusual medieval Christian feast that was celebrated on January 14th, Feast of the Ass Day. It primarily commemorated the donkey who carried the Holy Family to Egypt after Jesus’ birth, during the Flight into Egypt.
Though its origins are debated, the Feast of the Ass is believed to have emerged sometime in the early Middle Ages, possibly as a blend of Christian tradition and pagan rituals. It was particularly popular in France, where it often took on a raucous and carnivalesque atmosphere.
The celebrations typically involved a procession, where a priest would ride on a donkey dressed in ceremonial robes. The donkey would be led into the church, where a special Mass would be sung in its honor. The Mass itself often included humorous elements, such as donkey braying and bawdy songs.
- Related: National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day
How to Observe Feast of the Ass Day
Read biblical passages:
Delve into the Flight to Egypt stories in both Matthew and Luke, focusing on the role of the donkey. Reflect on its importance in carrying the Holy Family to safety.
Visit a church service:
Some churches may hold special observances for Feast of the Ass Day, often incorporating donkey imagery or readings into the liturgy.
Support donkey causes:
Donate to organizations dedicated to donkey welfare or learn about the challenges these animals face.
Host a party with donkey-themed games like pin the tail on the donkey, donkey dress-up, or donkey racing (using toy donkeys, of course!).
Create a menu featuring dishes associated with donkeys, like carrot cake, oat cookies, or hay-stuffed potatoes (for the adventurous!).
Read donkey-themed literature:
Explore children’s books like “The Wonderful Things You Will Be” by Emily Winfield Martin or “Dapple the Donkey” by Eric Hill. For adults, consider “Donkey Gospel” by Barbara Kingsolver or “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak.
Feast of the Ass Day Quotes, Wishes and Messages
“May your day be filled with more braying and blessings than Balaam’s donkey ever imagined!”
“Let’s raise a hoof (or at least a glass) to the humble beast who carried a holy load – Happy Feast of the Ass!”
“Remember, even saints need donkeys sometimes. Celebrate the unsung heroes of history on Feast of the Ass Day!”
“Don’t be a stubborn mule this January. Embrace the spirit of the Ass and let yourself have some fun!”
“Here’s to the underdog, the rearguard, the donkey who gets the job done – Happy Feast of the Ass!”
“May the Feast of the Ass remind us that sometimes the meekest creatures carry the greatest burdens.”
“Let the donkey’s journey inspire us to embrace unexpected paths and humble beginnings.”
“On this day, we celebrate the lowly donkey, a symbol of hope, resilience, and the power of faith.”
Why Feast of the Ass Day is Important
- The Feast of the Ass offers a window into medieval Christian culture, showcasing its blend of piety, humor, and social commentary. It demonstrates how religious rituals incorporated elements of popular culture and pagan traditions.
- Studying the festival provides insights into social hierarchies and class dynamics of the time. The inclusion of the lowly donkey as a central figure reflects a challenge to established power structures and celebrates humility and simplicity.
- For some Christians, the Feast of the Ass highlights the importance of all creatures, regardless of their perceived status. It emphasizes the humble origins of Jesus and the significance of unexpected helpers in fulfilling sacred journeys.
- The donkey symbolizes patience, endurance, and loyalty, virtues that can be seen as important aspects of Christian life.
Feast of the Ass Day Dates
What is Feast of the Ass Day?
Feast of the Ass Day is a cultural and religious celebration that holds historical significance. It involves various customs and practices aimed at honoring and celebrating donkeys.
When is Feast of the Ass Day?
Feast of the Ass Day is observed annually on January 14, marking a day of festivities and cultural significance.
Feast of the Ass Day is a journey through history, culture, and community spirit. It is a historical and cultural artifact, a source of religious reflection, and a spark of artistic inspiration. As you participate in the festivities, remember the roots and significance of this day, and let the joyous atmosphere bring people together.