The Holyday Book
by Francis X. Weiser
216 pp. Paperback - Long out of print and difficult to find!
"Many people celebrate the holydays and know their names; but their history, meaning and origin they know nothing..."
Almost sixteen hundred years ago St. John Chrysostom thundered these words from the pulpit. Perhaps the people of his time could have answered the Saint as many a listener would answer today: "How can I know the meaning and history of the feasts, 'unless someone shows me' [Acts 8:31]?"
Father Weiser, author of the best-selling The Christmas Book and The Easter Book, now presents the final volume of his trilogy in the cycle and celebration of Christian feasts. The book is devoted both to the season of Pentecost and to those feasts of saints throughout the year that have become holydays over the course of centuries. Like is predecessors, The Holyday Book is rich in history and legend, and Robert Frankenberg's charming illustrations again merge perfectly with the text.
Why do we wear our best clothes on Sunday? What was the Holy Ghost Hole in medieval churches? How did a Belgian nun originate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament? Where did the Halloween mask and the jack o' lantern come from? Father Weiser recounts tales of the traditional customs of "Trinity Rain, " the Day of Wreaths, the sign of the Cross, the Feast of Swallows, the Russian "Annunciation bread" buried in the field to protect the harvest. Here, too, are stories of the great fertility rites that culminated in the religious feasts of Thanksgiving, from the Martin's goose of the Middle Ages to the roast turkey of today.
The Holyday Book is a lively yet reverent chronicle of the origin of many great religious customs.
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