Thursday 2 April 2020

Lent and Easter: Catholic Customs and Traditions - Joanna Bogle - CTS Seasonal

Lent and Easter: Catholic Customs and Traditions
CTS Seasonal
Joanna Bogle
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860826306
eISBN 9781784692148
CTS Booklet D720

Over the last few years I have read over 100 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. A few authors so captured my attention I tried to track down all the books by them. This however was the first book I have read by Joanna Bogle and also the first in the CTS Seasonal. Unfortunately in the eBook edition there is not a list of other volumes in the series and I have only been able to find one other title, by this same author. The print edition was published in 2010 and the eBook in 2017.

The description of this volume is:

“Spanning the seasons of Lent, Easter and to Pentecost, this Ebook describes the rich heritage of customs and traditions long practiced by Catholics down the ages, up to today. Shrovetide, ashes, pancakes, mardi gras, fasting, almsgiving, pilgrimage, special saints days, simnel cake, palms, Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Holy week, hot cross buns, processions - these are just some of the many fascinating traditional practices associated with the religious festivals. The liturgy in turn enriches their meaning, as we rediscover how faith and everyday life are mutually supportive and instructive.”

And the contents are:

A rich heritage
Season of Lent
Ash Wednesday
The Stations of the Cross
Saints’ days in Lent
Mothering Sunday: mid Lent
Palm Sunday
Maunday Thursday
Good Friday
Holy Saturday
Easter Sunday

This is an interesting little read. I admit I did not love it, but did find it very informative. Many of the traditions I was area of. Some I was unaware of the traditions. The book is really written for a UK market, and some of the traditions and practices that I was unaware of are from the British Isles.  In the introduction we are told:

“The great events of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection are the fulfilment of God’s plan. Each year, the Church calls us to a fresh commemoration and understanding of these things. It is not just a sort of annual remembrance, but something far deeper: Christ died for our sins and rose again, and this “Easter Mystery” is at the heart of our faith.”

And in this short section:

Lost symbols and signs

Over the centuries, many traditions and customs have become associated with Lent and Easter, surrounding the Church’s own rich liturgy for the season. Today, however, Christians will often find themselves living side by side with people for whom Lent and Easter may mean very little. Easter eggs will often be on sale in the shops from late January onwards, and there are also specially-boxed chocolates, and cards showing rabbits and daffodils. The Easter weekend is a holiday for everyone. But what is it all about? It is so often the case that a good number of Catholics can remain confused and muddled among all this activity - and they will probably learn very little about the true meaning of Lent and Easter from the television or the consumer culture that surrounding them.

Which customs and traditions have real meaning, and which are merely recent commercially-backed innovations? How can we grasp the real meaning of Lent and Easter, without seeming to be priggish and over-pious? Is it true that some of the traditions - like Pancake Day and rolling Easter eggs downhill - have Christian origins? How can we find out more?”

The book covers a wide range of topics from history, current societal practices. And Does examine those with Christian meanings and those of secular or even pagan. I do not agree with all of her conclusions. But the book was a good way to start my Lenten reading this year.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Link to other Lent Resources.

Books by Joanna Bogle:
A Heart for Europe: the lives of Emperor Charles and Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary
Book of Feasts and Seasons
A Yearbook of Seasons and Celebrations
Lent and Easter: Catholic Customs and Traditions
John Paul II, Man of Prayer. the Spiritual Life of a Saint
English Catholic Heroines
Advent & Christmas: Catholic Customs and Traditions
Newman's London: A pilgrim handbook
Courage and Conviction. Pius XII, the Bridgettine Nuns, and the Rescue of Jews
St John XXIII and St John Paul II Prayer Book
Saints & Patrons: Christian Names for Baptism and Confirmation.
A Yearbook of Seasons and Celebrations

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