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In Christianity, a moveable feast or movable feast is a holy day — a feast day or a fast day — whose date is not fixed to a particular day of the calendar year but moves in response to the date of Easter, the date of which varies according to a complex formula. Easter is considered by some to itself be a "moveable feast".
By extension, other religions' feasts are occasionally described by the same term. In addition many countries have secular holidays that are moveable, for instance to make holidays more consecutive; the term "moveable feast" is not used in this case however.
Further, by metaphoric extension to mean a party on the move — or simply as a misnomer — Ernest Hemingway used the term A Moveable Feast for the title of his memoirs of life in Paris in the 1920s. This usage has become a popular phrase in food contexts, with several catering companies adopting it as their name.
Moveable feasts in Christianity
- Triodion — the period of 70 days before Easter (Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Greek-Catholic)
- Septuagesima — 63 days (ninth Sunday) before Easter (Pre–Vatican II Calendar)
- Saturday of Souls — 57 days before Easter (Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Greek-Catholic)
- Sexagesima — 56 days (eighth Sunday) before Easter (Pre–Vatican II Calendar)
- Quinquagesima Sunday — 49 days (seventh Sunday) before Easter (Pre–Vatican II Calendar)
- Shrove Monday — 48 days before Easter. (Western Christianity)
- Shrove Tuesday — 47 days before Easter. (Western Christianity)
- Ash Wednesday — 46 days before Easter. (Strictly speaking, Ash Wednesday is not a feast but a fast, characterised by solemnity and acts of self-denial.) (Western Christianity)
- Triumph of Orthodoxy — 42 days before Easter (Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Greek-Catholic)
- People's Sunday — 41 days before Easter (in Malta)
- Mothering Sunday — 21 days before Easter (Anglicanism)
- Passion Sunday — 14 days before Easter (Anglicanism)
- Lazarus Saturday — 8 days before Easter (Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Greek-Catholic)
- Palm Sunday — 7 days before Easter
- Maundy Thursday — 3 days before Easter
- Good Friday — 2 days before Easter (Good Friday is actually a fast rather than a feast. See Ash Wednesday above.)
- Black Saturday - 1 day before Easter
- Easter — the date around which the others are placed
- Saint Gregory's Day — 3 days after Easter (in Malta)
- The Octave of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, also known as Low Sunday or Quasimodo — the Sunday after Easter.
- Radonitsa — 8 or 9 days after Easter (Eastern Orthodox)
- Ascension Day — 39 days after Easter
- Pentecost — 49 days after Easter (50th day of Easter)
- Trinity Sunday — 56 days after Easter (Western Christianity)
- All Saints — 56 days after Easter (Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Greek-Catholic), but in the West this feast is fixed on November 1
- Corpus Christi — 60 days after Easter (Western Christianity)
- feast days of some significant saints' days, if a moveable feast falls too close to their usual date.
Although Mardi Gras (also known as Shrove Tuesday) moves around the calendar because it is celebrated 47 days before Easter, it is not technically a moveable feast, because it is not a holiday on any church calendar.
Some of the fixed feasts in Christianity
- Christmas — December 25
- Octave of the Nativity — January 1
- Presentation of Christ in the Temple — February 2
- Transfiguration — August 6
- Dormition of the Theotokos/Assumption of Mary — August 15
- Exaltation of the Cross — September 14
- feast days of most individual saints