Missing Europe: nothing changes more than tradition

Few people remember how, in the Christian world, the Advent season — the four weeks before Christmas — was a period of penance. It was called Christmas Lent. The vestments of priests at Mass were purple in mourning. One could not even get married. When it happened, with a particular bishop’s dispensation, the whole village suspected that the girl was pregnant. Rites were marked by sobriety, with a few breaks. These included the feasts of St. Nicholas and St. Lucy, days set aside for gifts. Depending on the country, each community chose one or the other saint. But the feasts […]

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