1. Feast* of Asses. 2. Mock religious festival begun ca. 12th c. by subdeacons of cathedrals and held ca. the Feast of the Circumcision (January 1). 3. Name also given collectively to the series of mock festivals in the Christmas season (by deacons on Feast of St. Stephen [December 26], priests on St. John's Day [December 27], choir boys on Holy Innocents [December 28], and subdeacons on or about Circumcision [January l]). Perhaps a Christian adaptation of the Roman Saturnalia, the celebrations were characterized by masquerades, extravagances, excesses. Council of Basel* imposed severe penalties for the observances 1435.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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