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Annunciation

From Academic Kids

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Annunciation.jpg
The Annunciation, by El Greco (1575)

The Annunciation of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the pronouncement by the archangel Gabriel that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God. The Christian churches celebrate this feast on March 25, which is nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Jesus, or Christmas. The date of the Annunciation was also the New Year in many places, including England (where it is called Lady Day) and the American colonies.

According to the Gospel of Luke, 1:26 ff, the archangel Gabriel was sent to Nazareth in Galilee, to the virgin Mary, and announced to her that she had been chosen by God to bear His son, Jesus. She asked how that would be, since although she was pledged to be married to Joseph, she was pledged to remain a virgin. The angel replied that she would conceive through the Holy Spirit. Mary consented, saying "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

In Eastern Orthodoxy Mary is referred to as Theotokos. This is a traditional Eastern Orthodox hymn for the day of the Annunciation:

Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You!

Related dates

In the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, the feast is moved if necessary to prevent it from either falling on a Sunday, or during Holy Week or the week in which Easter occurs. To avoid a Sunday, the previous Saturday (March 24) would be observed instead, and in years when March 25 falls during Holy Week or Easter Week the Annunciation is moved to the Monday after Low Sunday, which is the Sunday after Easter (if the Feast of St. Joseph, normally falling on March 19, must also be moved to a later date as a consequence of Easter falling on one of its earliest possible dates, the Annunciation is transferred to the Tuesday after Low Sunday, with the feast of St. Joseph on the Monday).

The date is close to the vernal equinox, as Christmas is to the winter solstice; because of this the Annunciation and Christmas were two of the four "Quarter days" in medieval and early modern England, which marked the divisions of the fiscal year (the other two were Midsummer Day, or the Nativity of St. John the Baptist - June 24 - and Michaelmas, the feast day of St. Michael, on September 29).

External links

de:Verkndigung nl:Annunciatie ru:Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы

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