The Feast of the Annunciation, which is celebrated on March 25 every year, goes by many names. It is known as the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the Feast of the Incarnation, Conceptio Christi, or Lady Day. It is a Christian holiday commemorating the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, where he announced that she would give birth to Jesus Christ.
The Feast of the Annunciation cuts across many factions of Christianity, but it is specially celebrated in Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. The holiday is counted as one of the eight great feasts of God in Orthodox Christianity, and it is a major Marian feast.
HISTORY OF FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION
The Feast of the Annunciation was celebrated as far back as the 4th or 5th century, but the first certain mention of the feast was in the “Canons of the Councils of Toledo” and Constantinople. In 656 A.C., the Feast of the Annunciation was said to have been celebrated throughout the church in Toledo.
The Feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25 every year in the Roman Catholic Church, except when the day falls during the Easter Triduum – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – in which case the feast is transferred to the most suitable day during Easterside. However, the date never changes in Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism, even if it falls during Easter. When Easter and the Feast of the Annunciation fall on the same day, it is called Kyriopascha.
The Annunciation is narrated in the Bible in the Book of Luke Chapter 1, from verses 26 to 38. According to the Bible, the angel Gabriel was sent to meet Mary, a virgin in Nazareth, Galilee. Mary was betrothed at the time to a man named Joseph.
Angel Gabriel hailed Mary and told her not to fear because she had found grace with God. He told her she would give birth to the Son of God. When she replied that she was a virgin, he reassured her that the Holy Ghost would come upon her. He also informed her that her barren cousin, Elizabeth, would conceive a son as well, even in her old age. Mary responded, “be it done to me according to thy word.” Joseph also received an annunciation later, as detailed in Matthew 1:18.
The Feast of the Annunciation celebrates God’s entrance into the human world through Jesus and Mary’s willingness to accept God’s command.
5 FACTS ABOUT SAINT MARY AND THE ANNUNCIATION
It happened in a house in Italy
Interestingly, the house where Mary grew up and where she received the annunciation is currently in Loreto, Italy
The name ‘Jesus’ was given to Mary’s promised son following Angel Gabriel’s instructions to Mary.
The Catholic Church claims that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life despite being married to Joseph.
The Day of Jesus’ death
The early church chose March 25 as the day for the Feast of the Annunciation because they believed that people died on the same day they were conceived, and they believed that was the day Jesus died.
Leonardo Da Vinci painted it
Da Vinci was one of many artists to depict the story of the annunciation, which he did in his detailed painting “The Annunciation.”