Latin form of some feast days
Reference in charters and manorial records to feast days is fairly prolific, for
dating of the documents themselves when these documents begin to bear internal
dates, and particularly for references to terms and quarter days for payments.
The purely chronological aspects are considered separately.
On this page reference is made to some of the Latin forms of these dates.
- Christmas will assume the forms either ad natale domini or
ad festum natalis domini. In the former instance, natale is the
accusative form, governed by ad. In the second example, natalis
is the genitive form relative to ad festum -- that is, at the feast of
the birth of the Lord. Note that forms of natal- are employed only for
the birth of Christ; for the births of other Saints, the associated noun is
- Nativitas, as noted above, is the noun used for the birth of all
other saints, but again it assumes either of two forms: ad nativitatem
(for example) Sancti Johannis Baptiste (that is, the accusative
governed by ad); or ad festum nativitatis Sancti Johannis, thus assuming
the genitive related to ad festum.
- Easter is pascha, but it declines irregularly, so that we have:
ad pascha (accusative, but with no final m) but the genitive is pasche,
declined as one might expect.
- Pentecost. There are again two irregular forms which recur: ad Pentecosten
(accusative) and ad festum Pentecostes (genitive).
- Lent is less complicated, because it declines regularly as a first
declension (female) noun: thus quadragesima (nom.), quadragesimam (acc.) and
- in many cases, although not uniformly, the form will be ad festum
followed by the feast in the genitive, but sometimes ad festum is omitted,
so that the feast is in the accusative governed by the preposition ad.
To be continued.