Forgotten Festivals

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Most of us Moravians will know Sunday, March 25 this year as Palm Sunday — a remembrance of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. It’s the beginning of Holy Week. Beyond doubt, some kind person will pin a palm cross on your lapel and children will sing “Hosanna” on March 25. There’s nothing wrong with that!

But what about the festivals that are forgotten in the cold, dark shadow of Palm Sunday?

March 25 is also The Annunciation (Lady Day). It’s listed as an “immovable festival” on page 876 of the current Moravian Book of Worship (aka blue hymnal). I was not born into a Moravian home, but have been Moravian for many years. I had never heard of this festival, well-established as it may be. It appeared in the 1549 Prayer Book of Edward VI and the 1667 Book of Common Prayer. Exactly 9 months before Christmas, the Church of England now calls it “The Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

According to page 876 of the current Moravian Book of Worship, March 25 is also the Festival of all the Choirs (aka All-Choirs Covenant Day), another “immovable festival.” I had to phone a friend to understand this one. Nicole Crabbe, Assistant Archivist at the Moravian Archives of the Moravian Church in America, Southern Province, tried her best to explain it to me. It’s apparently a special day of prayer of re-construction of all the Moravian choirs (from the historic choir system: Single Brothers, Single Sisters, Widows, etc.). Although I didn’t even know we still used the choir system except for assigning burial plots, there’s still a celebration for all the choirs on March 25. And, since everybody is classified into one choir or another, guess what? It’s a special day for every Moravian. By the way, each individual choir has its own, separate day too.

I’m all for Palm Sunday. Don’t get me wrong. But, as Moravians, shouldn’t we at least have a lovefeast or something for these other festival days that are so important that they cannot be moved, according to our Moravian Book of Worship? How about a special hymn?

Vince Holbrook

About the Author:

Vince Holbrook began as Director of Communication and Marketing in November 2017. He's a career communications professional who teaches public speaking and interpersonal communication at Forsyth Technical Community College and Guilford Technical Community College. He also spent significant time with Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Texas Instruments and Trone Advertising. A graduate of Morehead State University in Morehead, KY, Vince holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism as well as a Master’s degree in Applied Communication from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is a member of First Moravian Church in Greensboro, NC and also attends Come & Worship emerging ministry at the Liberty Arts Coffee Shop in Winston-Salem.
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