Friday, September 14, 2012

Get out your hot cross buns: It's Roodmas

Roodmas?  Hot cross buns?  Yes, September 14 is not important because that is the day Francis Scott Key wrote the words for the Star Spangled Banner - though that is certainly noteworthy.  No, for Christians everywhere this is the day commonly known as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The term 'Rood' is from an old Anglo-Saxon term meaning Rod, but often used to signify the True Cross*.

The cross is big.  It is the symbol of the faith.  Catholics and Orthodox and all Christians of the historic faith, including not a few from some Protestant traditions, use the sign of the cross as a constant reminder of the power of the cross which symbolizes Jesus Christ and Him crucified, the sole object of St. Paul's preaching.  That's why Catholic cross themselves for a host of reasons:  Entering a Church, before and after prayers, at their baptism, traveling past a church (to honor Jesus in the Tabernacle), why the list is endless.  Catholics used to believe - and I personally think nothing wrong with keeping this up in light of the state of modern things - that using the sign of the cross was a ward against demons.

So there you go.  The Cross.  Reflect on it today.  Meditate on what it is and why it is important to the salvation and souls of all believers around the world, and indeed, all humans.  Eat some hot cross buns, and open up the Scriptures, which we are told repeatedly that Christ's Death, Burial, and Resurrection fulfilled, and see the power of where this promise of eternal life originates.  And next time you're driving by a church or cathedral, remember the old custom of crossing yourself.  It's a great habit to get into.

"For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."  
                                                                                                    1 Corinthians 1:17,18

*By the way, the term 'rood' as cross was once a word by which people would swear, hence Shakespeare's Hamlet attests to Queen Gertrude, "No, by the rood, not so: You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife; And--would it were not so!--you are my mother."


  1. Roodmas is September 14? According to my research it falls on the 3rd of May. May I enquire as to your sources? I'm not trying to say you don't know what you're talking about. Just wanting to find the facts. And with there being a variation in date from that I got in my research, I thought I would try to varify one or the other.

  2. It appears to have a long, twisted history as do most things. It was May 3, while in other times and places September 14. Apparently there were times when there were two celebrations, one on May 3rd, and a second later in the year on September 14. From what I discovered, mostly in books about Catholic piety and practices, as well as – I think – a Catholic site on daily feasts and saint days, it was in the 20th century that the two were combined, and September 14 became the day in the Catholic calendar (at least in the US, don’t know if it speaks for other countries).


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