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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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Holy Week

Holy Week

(p.182) 18 Holy Week
The Stations of the Sun

Ronald Hutton

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the origins of Holy Week. For medieval clergy and congregations in Britain, the first clear sign that Lent was drawing to a close came upon Palm Sunday, the fifth in the fast, with one of the longest passages of ceremony in the whole religious year. Where the Sarum Use was fully observed, it took the following form. This was, at any rate, the sequence of ritual prescribed by the Salisbury tradition by the end of the Middle Ages. What needs to be emphasized now is, first, that it took a long time to evolve, and second, that it was enacted in full in relatively few places. The basic ceremony, that of the procession, was known to St Aldhelm in the seventh century and to Alcuin of York in the eighth. The hallowing of fronds was enjoined in a mid-eighth-century pontifical of Archbishop Egbert of York, and this is Britain's first record of the custom.

Keywords:   Holy Week, Britain, Lent, Palm Sunday, Sarum Use, ritual, procession, St Aldhelm, fronds, Egbert of York

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