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The Feast of the Ass, also known as the Festival of the Ass, is an obscure medieval Christian feast that was once observed in some parts of Europe.

The Feast of the Ass, also known as the Festival of the Ass, is an obscure medieval Christian feast that was once observed in some parts of Europe. Here's an overview of this unique celebration:


### History:

- The Feast of the Ass originated in medieval France and was observed primarily in rural areas during the Middle Ages.

- The feast was part of the liturgical calendar and took place on January 14th, although variations in the date and customs existed in different regions.


### Significance:

- The Feast of the Ass was a lighthearted and satirical celebration that marked the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Epiphanytide.

- It involved a reenactment of the Flight into Egypt, with a young girl or a woman portraying Mary riding on a donkey, accompanied by Joseph and sometimes other characters such as angels or shepherds.


### Customs and Rituals:

1. **Procession**: The highlight of the feast was a procession, often led by a young girl or woman dressed as Mary sitting on a donkey.

2. **Mock Ceremonies**: Along the procession route, humorous and irreverent rituals were sometimes performed, such as braying like donkeys or singing bawdy songs.

3. **Sermons and Plays**: Church services included sermons and dramatic plays depicting the biblical story of the Flight into Egypt.

4. **Blessing of Animals**: In some regions, animals were brought to church to receive blessings, particularly donkeys, which were considered sacred symbols associated with the biblical narrative.


### Decline and Disappearance:

- The Feast of the Ass gradually fell out of favor as religious sensibilities changed and ecclesiastical authorities sought to suppress irreverent or pagan elements in Christian celebrations.

- By the end of the Middle Ages, the Feast of the Ass had largely disappeared from the liturgical calendar, although traces of its customs and traditions persisted in folklore and local customs in some regions.


### Contemporary Observance:

- Today, the Feast of the Ass is not widely observed as a religious or cultural celebration, but it remains a curious footnote in the history of medieval Christianity and folk traditions.


While the Feast of the Ass may seem unusual by contemporary standards, it offers a glimpse into the colorful and sometimes irreverent customs and rituals of medieval Europe.

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