Feast of the Ass

This festival recalling the flight of the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) into Egypt to escape King Herod reached its peak during the Middle Ages in France. It was customary to have a girl carrying a baby and riding an elaborately decorated ass led through the streets to the church. But the celebration gradually took on comic overtones, with the priest and congregation imitating the braying of an ass during the service and the ass itself being led into the church. By the 15th century the feast was nothing more than an occasion for laughter and was suppressed by the Church. Discuss


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