Lady Day

Happy Lady Day!

Today is the feast day of the Annunciation — and a huge feast day it is! It celebrates Mary’s YES to God and Christ’s conception — thus, it is celebrated exactly nine months before Christmas.

Traditionally, this used to be one of the most celebrated feast days in Christendom. After all, it appears in the middle of Lent. Whereas St. Joseph’s feast day was typically celebrated with even more fasting, abstinence, and penance, this was the day where everyone would party before the Lenten penances resumed.

In fact! One of the neat traditions about this feast day is that it is celebrated with waffles. Apparently, the Swedish word for this feast day,
Vårfrudagen, is very similar to the Swedish word, Våffeldagen, which means Waffle Day. And so! It is celebrated with waffles.

Well! With a history like that, my family had to celebrate with waffles! Here are some pictures to document the festivities…

…yes, it was chaos. But delicious chaos!

Alas! In our world, in which our calendar no longer revolves around the Church calendar, this beautiful feast day has faded in obscurity.

And yet… what a beautiful feast day it is! Especially in our world, which struggles to acknowledge the beautiful moment in which our children are conceived and come into existence.

And so! For today, to celebrate this happy day, I would like to pray the Angelus with you, with each prayer illustrated with beautiful religious art.

What is the Angelus? It is a prayer which joyously recounts the Angelic encounter between the Archangel Gabriel and our Blessed Mother, and begs God for that grace. Traditionally, it is prayed at 6 am, noon, and 6 pm. In fact, the church bells used to chime at this hour and then families would sometimes stop everything and pray the Angelus together — as this artwork depicts!

The Angelus, by Jean-François Millet, c. 1857-59. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Angelus, by Jean-François Millet, c. 1857-59. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.

And so, without no further delay… the Angelus prayer!

The Angelus

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

The Annunciation, by El Greco (Domenikos Theotokópoulos), c. 1614. Fundación Banco Santander, Madrid, Spain. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by El Greco (Domenikos Theotokópoulos), c. 1614. Fundación Banco Santander, Madrid, Spain.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

The Annunciation, by Francesco del Cossa, c. 1470-72. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by Francesco del Cossa, c. 1470-72. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord:
Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

The Annunciation, by Francisco de Solis, c. 1664. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by Francisco de Solis, c. 1664. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

The Annunciation, by Francisco de Zurbarán, c. 1650. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by Francisco de Zurbarán, c. 1650. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

And the Word was made Flesh:
And dwelt among us.

The Annunciation of the Virgin, by Gregorio Martínez, c. 16th century. National Sculpture Museum, Valladolid, Spain. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation of the Virgin, by Gregorio Martínez, c. 16th century. National Sculpture Museum, Valladolid, Spain.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

The Annunciation, by Luis Juárez, c. 1638. Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City, Mexico. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by Luis Juárez, c. 1638. Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City, Mexico.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

The Annunciation, by Luis Lagarto, c. 1610. Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City, Mexico. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by Luis Lagarto, c. 1610. Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City, Mexico.

Let us pray:

The Annunciation, by Simon Bening, c. 1525-30. J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles, California, United States. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by Simon Bening, c. 1525-30. J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles, California, United States.

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

The Annunciation, by  Pieter Coecke van Aelst, c. 1525-28. Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo, Spain. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by Pieter Coecke van Aelst, c. 1525-28. Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo, Spain.

Amen.

The Annunciation, by Stefano d'Antonio di Vanni, c. 1430. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Annunciation, by Stefano d’Antonio di Vanni, c. 1430. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

If you like praying with religious art guiding you along, you might like my books, which lead you through each prayer of the Rosary, with each prayer beautifully illustrated. Check them out!

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of three, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer

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