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Catholic Activity: Holy Cross Day



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A brief description of traditions related to the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.


September 14 comes as a sombre note in all this revelry [of harvest feasts]. Here was a day in honor of the Holy Cross. It seemed like a day apart from all the gay harvesting, preserving and brewing. If Emperor Heraclius could not approach Calvary while he was ornamented with gold and jewels, ordinary Christians must call a fast, too, in order to draw near the cross. So September 14 was spent in fasting in both Greek and Latin churches.

Following Holy Cross Day, fairs and festivals opened up everywhere. Livestock was sold and bartered for herd or slaughter. From now on, lack of fodder would cut the flocks and fret the farmers. Now it was time for herdsmen to drive their cattle home from the mountain feeding grounds. The fairs were big and jolly and noisy, much like ours today. One or two, like St. Luke's Fair on October 18, were placed under the patronage of a saint, but usually most anything was fair at a fair.

Activity Source: Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310, 1949, 1999