In the Gothispanic and Early Mozarabic Rite, Lent begins on the Monday preceding the Roman Rite’s Ash Wednesday. Tuesday, then, is not a time for carnival (saying goodbye to the meats) but rather, the Sunday prior.
Our Carnival occurs on the Sunday “In Carnes Tollendas” which translates to “When the Meats are Removed” for indeed, fasting begins the following day: Monday.
With that Monday, then, begin the 40 days of Lent or preparation for the Pascal Mystery.
If you count the days, however, there seem to be 46 days in Lent, not 40 but there is a couple of technical reasons for this:
1- The six Sundays of Lent are not counted as fast-days, for they are Feasts of the Lord. This is signified by keeping the altar visible from the Vespers around sunset of each Saturday until after the Sunday mass is achieved. We must remember that the altar remains veiled by curtains on all of the feriae, and no memory, feast or solemnity is celebrated during Lent in this Rite… not even that of Our Lady on March 25, for which the 18th of December was invented instead - Her Feast of the Expectation that initiates the octave to Christmas. For Lent, the altar remains veiled for 40 of the 46 days except during the canon of the mass.
2- In Holy Week, meaning the feriae after the sixth Sunday of Lent (aka Palm Sunday) includes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These four feriae plus the six feriae preceding the six Sundays of Lent are what yield the 40 days of fasting 4+(6x6)=40.
3- Holy Thursday is included because liturgical days begin the evening prior. Thence, the Quinta Feria begins on the evening of the Cuarta Feria of Holy Week (Wednesday evening).
4- The Extraordinary Service of The Institution of the Lord’s Supper which is celebrated as the beginning of The Holy Triduum is thus, technically, after the 40 days have been achieved. It is performed after the reconciliation of the Penitents and last instruction of catechumens so they may partake in the Pascal Mystery achieved by Easter.
5- The Triduum in Tenebris is not part of Lent. The stripping of the altar, the curtains and extinguishing of every last light signifies the darkness (the Tenebrae) which can and will only be resolved with the lighting of the new fire on the beginning of the Resurrection (Easter Vigil which begins on the Sexta Feria which is Holy Saturday).
6- During the Triduum in Tenebris, no lights are lit in the churches for the sake of ceremonial contrast against the Easter season of light. For this reason, the liturgical functions such as the exit from the church after the expoliation of the altar on the Fifth Feria (Holy Thursday), Veneration of the Cross on the Sixth Feria and the Gathering of the faithful before the lighting of the new fire on Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) occur during the day (usually around 3pm or “hora nona”). That way: there is no need to light candles and the symbolism is preserved. The natural sun light is otherwise blocked by window curtains or shutters according to the rubrics.
Feast -0 Sunday In Carnes Tollendas (NOT part of Lent)
First week of Lent, called “In Carnes Tollendas” 6 Feriae
Feast - I Sunday of Lent +
Second week of Lent 6 Feriae
Feast -II Sunday of Lent +
Third week of Lent 6 Feriae
Feast -III Sunday of Lent +
Fourth week of Lent 6 Feriae
Feast –IIII1 Sunday of Lent +
Fifth week of Lent 6 Feriae
Feast -V Sunday of Lent +
Sixth week of Lent 6 Feriae
Feast -VI Sunday of Lent = Palm Sunday +
Holy Week 4 Feriae2
40 days of Fasting
The 6 Sundays are not counted, for they are not days of fasting on account of being celebrated as Feasts of the Lord.
Of the 40 days of fasting: 36 are the Feriae in during Lent, plus the 4 days of Holy Week prior to the beginning of the Liturgical Triduum.
1-IIII is used instead of IV in the Gothic Kingdom and the liturgical texts of its tradition in the Hispanic provinces and Gallia Narbonensis.
2-Holy Thursday (the 4th Feria) has its ordinary vespers, matins and mass before the “extraordinary” mass that commemorates the Institution of The Lord’s Supper, Stripping of the Altars, Washing of the Feet and Charity Meal for those who had their feet washed - ceremonies which begin and form part of the Holy Triduum. It is deemed extraordinary, in part, because of its extensive and particular rubrics compared to all the other days preceding it.
This is part of a couple of books which we are in the process of editing, explaining the rites and rituals of the precursor of what you may know as the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite which is a result of the 16th century Cisnerian reforms.
Our aim is bringing to light the earlier practices in hopes of enriching the patrimony of the Catholic Church with aspects which have been re-interpreted through modernizing paradigms and interpolations which ultimately has created new forms and forgotten some of the old. Part of this, a key to decipher Eugenian Chant and later Mozarabic Chant.
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