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Quinquagesima

[ kwing-kwuh-jes-uh-muh, kwin- ]
/ ˌkwɪŋ kwəˈdʒɛs ə mə, ˌkwɪn- /
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noun

the Sunday before Lent; Shrove Sunday.

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Origin of Quinquagesima

1350–1400; Middle English <Medieval Latin, short for Latin quīnquāgēsima diēs fiftieth day
Quin·qua·ges·i·mal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What is Quinquagesima?

Quinquagesima is another name for Shrove Sunday, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and the first of the three days of Shrovetide.

Shrovetide is the three-day period before the beginning of Lent, which is the season of fasting and penitence that precedes Easter. Shrovetide starts on Quinquagesima and is followed by Shrove Monday and Shrove Tuesday.

Quinquagesima is sometimes called Quinquagesima Sunday.

When is Quinquagesima?

Quinquagesima happens 49 days (seven weeks) before Easter Sunday. (Lent is often considered a period of 40 days, but it actually consists of 40 weekdays.)

Since Easter Sunday moves every year, Quinquagesima can fall between February 1 and March 7.

The date for Quinquagesima in 2021 is February 14. Quinquagesima 2022 will fall on March 2.

Where does Quinquagesima come from?

The first records of the term Quinquagesima come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin phrase quīnquāgēsima diēs, meaning “fiftieth day.” Easter Sunday is exactly seven weeks after Quinquagesima, so Quinquagesima is the fiftieth day before it (49 days plus Easter itself).

The shrove in Shrove Sunday comes from the past tense of the verb shrive, which means “confess one’s sins, such as to a priest” (it can also mean “to hear confession”).

Shrovetide was once a time that many Christians devoted to confessing their sins before the beginning of Lent. But Lent itself is a time of fasting and abstaining, and Shrovetide eventually became, for many, a time of indulging before the Lenten fast begins.

Traditionally, fasting for Lent has involved giving up foods like eggs and fats (such as butter). Shrove Tuesday is the last day to use up such foods so they don’t go to waste during Lent, and pancakes are one of the easiest (and most delicious) ways to use these ingredients. This tradition is why Shrove Tuesday is often called Pancake Day, and probably why it’s the best-known of the three days of Shrovetide.

Quinquagesima, on the other hand, is most often used in religious contexts. The Sunday before it is called Sexagesima, and the one before that is called Septuagesima.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Quinquagesima?

How is Quinquagesima discussed in real life?

Quinquagesima is typically used in religious contexts. The name Shrove Sunday is more commonly known, but it’s not nearly as well-known as Shrove Tuesday, which itself is popularly known as Pancake Day.

Try using Quinquagesima!

True or False?

Quinquagesima always falls on the same date.

British Dictionary definitions for Quinquagesima

Quinquagesima
/ (ˌkwɪŋkwəˈdʒɛsɪmə) /

noun

the Sunday preceding Ash Wednesday, the beginning of LentAlso called: Quinquagesima Sunday
C14: via Medieval Latin from Latin quinquāgēsima diēs fiftieth day
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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