Christian Traditions 009: Sexagesima Sunday

Von Trapp Follow-Along: Maria says nothing about Sexagesima Sunday.

8 February 2015WHEN IS IT?

Sexagesima Sunday, which in the middle of the three-Sunday Pre-Lent Season, is the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday. This year, that occurs on 8 February. Because Ash Wednesday is a moveable feast (it’s based on the date of Easter, which is based roughly on the Spring Equinox, and so Easter and, by extension, Ash Wednesday move to a different date every year), Sexagesima is also a moveable feast. The earliest it may occur is 25 January and the latest it can occur is 28 February or 29 February in a leap year.

sexagesimaWHAT IS IT?

Sexagesima Sunday is so named because it occurs within 60 days before Easter. Specifically, it occurs exactly 57 days before Easter while Septuagesima Sunday occurs 64 days before Easter. However, the following Sunday, Quinquagesima Sunday, occurs 50 days before Easter (if you include both Easter Sunday and Quinquagesima Sunday in the counting), hence the name Quinquagesima. It is believed that Sexagesima and Septuagesima are named more in relation to Quinquagesima than in relation to Easter itself.

Like Septagesima Sunday, Sexagesima Sunday has been observed since at least the 500s AD with the first written reference dated to 541 AD.


The next Sunday in the cycle is Quinquagesima Sunday, which falls on 15 February this year.


Unlike Septuagesima Sunday, Sexagesima Sunday does not have a special activity other than reading and prayer.

  • II Corinthians 11-12, Luke 8.
  • Pray the following prayer or use it to guide your own prayer.
    • “O LORD God, who sees that we do not put our trust in anything that we do: Mercifully grant that by Your power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”


The most appropriate symbol for this day is the number 60.

  • Knitting Pattern: “Numbers” by Frankie Brown (here). (These measure 4 inches length using DK [8 ply] or 3 inches length using Fingering [4 ply]. Since I recommend all these ornaments be less than 3 inches long, you should use Fingering.) (Note: knit only the 6 and 0. You may consider stitching them together. If you’re really ambitious, you might consider double-knitting and then stuffing them.)
  • Crochet Pattern: “Numbers 0-9” by CreativeCrochetWorkshop (here) (these measure 2 inches in length) or “The Moogly Crochet Numbers” by Tamara Kelly (here) (these measure 3.5 inches in length). (Note: crochet only the 6 and 0. You may consider stitching them together.)



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