Happy Feast of the Ass!

(Image: Southern Fried Catholicism)

Today, January 14, is the Feast of the Ass (In Latin: Festum Asinorum), a Roman Catholic feast day that commemorates the flight of baby Jesus into Egypt to escape King Herod the Great's slaughter of Judean babies. According to tradition, Jesus and Mary rode on the back of an ass during their journey.

Although it has fallen out of practice, there was a time in Medieval Europe when the Feast of the Ass was quite big. During the liturgy, the congregation would respond to the presiding priest by braying like donkeys. From The Catholic Encyclopedia:

At the end of Mass, the priest, having turned to the people, in lieu of saying the 'Ite, Missa est', will bray thrice; the people instead of replying 'Deo Gratias' say, 'Hinham, hinham, hinham.'

"Hinham" is the Latin expression for the sound that a donkey makes.

Read all about the Feast of the Ass at VA Viper.

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