Category Archives: Passiontide

Christian Traditions 015: March 2015 Introduction

Von Trapp Follow-Along: Maria talks about the final commemorations of Lent under “PASSIONTIDE,” “PASSION SUNDAY,” “PALM SUNDAY,” and “HOLY WEEK” in her book. Further Pre-Easter events that she discusses occur in April this year.


Because Ash Wednesday, which marks the end of Pre-Lent and the start of Lent, may occur anywhere from February 4 to March 10, March always encompasses some amount of Lent and often encompasses some amount of Pre-Lent. (Note that Ordinary Time runs through Pre-Lent and Carnival matches Pre-Lent, so anything encompassing Pre-Lent also encompasses Ordinary Time and Carnival.) Furthermore, because Easter may occur anywhere from 22 March to 25 April, March may also often include Eastertide. In other words, depending on the dates of Easter and Ash Wednesday, March may include Pre-Lent, Lent, and/or Eastertide. In this respect, March is the most versatile month of Christian celebrations!

saint patrickWHEN IS IT?

March includes (at least, as far as commemorations I will discuss in this series) three immoveable feasts; and this year, it also includes three moveable feasts plus an entire week of moveable feasts. This year, because Lent starts February 18 and Easter occurs April 5, March encompasses Lent and Passiontide. Passiontide involves the last two weeks prior to Easter, so March this year will encompass about 9 out of the 14 days of Passiontide, beginning March 22. Passiontide includes Passion Sunday (two weeks before Easter Sunday) and Palm Sunday (one week before Easter Sunday), as well as the Friday of Sorrows or Friday of Passion (the Friday before Good Friday), all of which will fall in March this year. Passiontide also encompasses Holy Week, which is the final week prior to Easter (starting on Monday), and two of these six days fall in March this year.

feastofstjosephpaintingWHAT IS IT?

As discussed previously, Lent is a period of instruction and penance, during which we fast and abstain in preparation for Easter and in remembrance of Jesus’ 40-day fast in preparation for His ministry. We recall the Fall, our sinfulness, and our need for a Savior. This prepares us for the celebration of Easter, the fulfillment of all our needs.

Maria Von Trapp explains that if Pre-Lent is a distant preparation for Easter, and Lent a proximal preparation, then Passiontide is the immediate preparation. The commemorations take on a more intense nature as we close in on Easter.


A list of items you will need for this month follows:

  • Ingredients for Simmel Cake. (Required for Laetare Sunday, 15 Mar.) For this event, you will need ingredients for a cake traditionally made by mothers for their children’s arrival. There are two possible recipes. Both require the usual ingredients for baking (butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and salt). The first, by Maria Von Trapp, also calls for shredded lemon and orange peel, currants, and almond paste. The second, by Fish Eaters, also calls for light brown sugar, raisins, currants, candied cherries, candied mixed fruit peel, grated lemon zest, mixed spice, almond paste, and apricot jam.


The calendar of events for March looks like this:

  • 15: Laetare Sunday
  • 17: St. Patrick’s Day
  • 17: Optional Memorial of Discovery of the Hidden Christians (JAPAN ONLY)
  • 19: St. Joseph’s Day
  • 22-28: Passion Week
    • 22: Passion Sunday
  • 25: The Annunciation (a.k.a., the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord)
  • 29: Palm Sunday
  • 3/30-4/4: Holy Week