On Ascension Day, many in Germany celebrate Father’s Day, but this Thursday is Corpus Christi – but what does that day really mean? The term comes from the Middle High German “fron licham” or “vrône lîcham” and means “Body of the Lord” – in Latin “Corpus Christi”. The supper that Jesus shared with his disciples is remembered.
Catholics have celebrated their faith with this great festival since the 13th century. the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist – that is, in Holy Communion or Holy Communion at Mass. According to the Catholic faith, Jesus is really present in the bread and wine and these are food and drink for eternity. The Protestant Church does not share the belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper.
Because Corpus Christi follows the resurrection of Jesus in the church year, some also call it Corpus Christi, somewhat maliciously or sarcastically. “Happy Carcass”.
After the mass the procession
In the last couple of years, the Corpus Christi tradition has been overshadowed by the corona virus in many places and has only been possible to a limited extent. In fact, the parish with the custodian takes to the streets after Mass. The monstrance is usually an elaborate vessel in which the hosts (ie the bread representing the “Body of Christ”) are.
Horse processions are organized regionally, on some lakes there are processions of ships.
It’s not a holiday everywhere
But in many German federal states, people have to work in Corpus Christi like any other day. A holiday is Corpus Christi in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony and Thuringia.
In Austria, Corpus Christi is a national holiday and is also named Kranzltag, Bloodtag or Sacramenttag. Unlike Italy – where neither Corpus Christi nor Ascension Day are public holidays – “Corpus Christi” is a public holiday in Spain and Portugal, as well as Poland and Croatia. The Catholic Church in Italy and Hungary will attend the ceremony on Sunday, June 19.
In Switzerland, Corpus Christi is a public holiday in the predominantly Catholic cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden, Jura, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri, Valais and Zug, as well as in some municipalities in the cantons of Aargau, Fribourg, Grisons, Neuchâtel and Solothurn .
The day on which Corpus Christi falls depends on Easter and Pentecost. It is the first Thursday eight days after Pentecost.