Lyon, France — For 700 years Catholic faithful expressed their devotion to the Virgin Mary by creating an elaborate wardrobe for the mother and child, on display in a new exhibit in the French city of Lyon.
Playfully entitled “Fashion Icon”, the show explores how from the 12th to the 19th centuries, clothes were cut to adorn the Virgin, sometimes becoming objects of worship in their own right.
“When you clothe a statue you give it a powerful presence — and since the fabrics used were extremely precious, you also introduce a distance,” explained Maximilien Durand, director of the Lyon fabric museum and curator of the show, which runs until March 25.
“Clothes were cut for all kinds of statues — from great icons in sanctuaries and the mannequins used in religious processions, down to the tiny statues of Mary worshipped in convents and household chapels.”
The practice spread massively from the 13th to 15th centuries, but come the 16th century, with the Roman Catholic Church under attack from Protestant critics, the clergy started to worry the statues of Mary had become indecent.
“They were dressed like real women, like fashion icons, with real hair, wigs, even make-up,” Durand said.
In 1530, Catholic authorities ruled that the Virgin could be dressed — so long as the clothes were not too close-fitting — allowing the practice to thrive until the 19th century when the Church turned against it.
“The clothes people gave were always special, either precious or because they symbolised a key moment in their lives,” said Durand.
“Women would often donate their wedding dresses for the statues, symbolically a way of holding onto their own virginity.”
When Marie-Antoinette’s eldest daughter was born, the French queen asked her dressmaker to fashion a costume for the Virgin in Monflieres north of Paris, from one of her own dresses.
“Today it is the only surviving dress known to have belonged to Marie-Antoinette, since her entire wardrobe has since been lost,” said Durand.
Daily Archives: December 11, 2011
And it sets a Guinness Record!
Mexico City – City authorities have set up a nativity scene – certified by Guinness Records as the largest in the world - as part of their Christmas festivities.
The nativity scene, which cost $2 million to create, sprawls across the parking lot of the giant Azteca stadium.
The scene, which covers 215,000 square feet — larger than four football fields, has 5,000 figures portraying 57 biblical passages related to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
Organizers said that it took architects, engineers, designers and historians 70 days to create the project, which was unveiled by Mayor Marcelo Ebrard on Wednesday, 17 days before Christmas.
More than 80 percent of Mexico’s population are self-identified Catholics, according to Mexican census figures, and another 9 percent are various denominations of Protestant Christians.
Mexico has no state religion, but Christmas and other Christian observances such as Easter are national holidays.
Or the Third Sunday of Advent:
… in the liturgical calendar of the Western Church, including the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Churches, and other mainline Protestant churches. It can fall on any date from 11 December to 17 December.
The day takes its common name from the Latin word Gaudete (“Rejoice”), the first word of the introit of this day’s Mass: Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob. This may be translated as “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.” (Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):2).
On Gaudete Sunday rose-coloured vestments may be worn instead of violet, (or in the Anglican tradition and some Lutheran traditions, Sarum blue) which is otherwise prescribed for every day in the season of Advent. This tradition, previously informally observed in the Anglican Church, was formally noted as an option in the Church of England in the Common Worship liturgical renewal. In churches which have an Advent wreath, the rose coloured candle is lit in addition to two of the violet (or blue) coloured candles, which represent the first two Sundays of Advent. Despite the otherwise somber readings of the season of Advent, which has as a secondary theme the need for penitence, the readings on the third Sunday emphasize the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming.