Good-bye to Alleluia Sunday

February 10 was the last Sunday in the Epiphany season, as next Sunday begins the Pre-Lenten season. Lent and Pre-Lent are more somber in tone than the Epiphany season, and so some of the more joyful aspects of the Church’s liturgy, such as the Gloria in excelsis, are not used then. Anciently, this included dropping the Alleluias that were sung with portions of the Psalms between the Epistle and Gospel. It is for this reason that the last Sunday in Epiphany came to be called “Good-bye to Alleluia Sunday,” an old tradition that is reflected in our Hymn #54, used as a final hymn today. The term “Alleluia,” or “Hallelujah,” is the Hebrew expression for “Praise ye the Lord,” and is used in many Psalms. In the medieval Western Church elaborate local ceremonies for bidding farewell to Alleluia arose, including a burial of “Alleluia” in a coffin with a full Requiem Mass!

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