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In the western liturgical year, Lady Day
Lady Day
is the traditional name in some English speaking countries of the Feast of the Annunciation
Feast of the Annunciation
(25 March), known in the 1549 Prayer Book of Edward VI and the 1667 Book of Common Prayer as "The Annunciation
Annunciation
of the (Blessed) Virgin Mary" but more accurately (as currently in the 1997 Calendar of the Church of England) termed "The Annunciation
Annunciation
of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary". It is the first of the four traditional English quarter days. The "Lady" is the Virgin Mary. The term derives from Middle English, when some nouns lost their genitive inflections. "Lady" would later gain an -s genitive ending, and therefore the name means "Lady's day". The day commemorates the tradition of archangel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she would give birth to the Christ. Non-religious significance[edit] In England, Lady Day
Lady Day
was New Year's Day
New Year's Day
between 1155 and 1752, after which 1 January was declared to be the official start of the year.[1] A vestige of this remains in the United Kingdom's tax year, which starts on 6 April, i.e., Lady Day
Lady Day
adjusted for the lost days of the calendar change. Until this change Lady Day
Lady Day
had been used as the start of the legal year. This should be distinguished from the liturgical and historical year. It appears that in England and Wales, from at least the late 14th century, New Year's Day
New Year's Day
was celebrated on 1 January as part of Yule.[2] Before 1751 the year began in March. As a year-end and quarter day that conveniently did not fall within or between the seasons for plowing and harvesting, Lady Day
Lady Day
was a traditional day on which year-long contracts between landowners and tenant farmers would begin and end in England and nearby lands (although there were regional variations). Farmers' time of "entry" into new farms and onto new fields was often this day.[3][4] As a result, farming families who were changing farms would travel from the old farm to the new one on Lady Day. After the calendar change, "Old Lady Day" (5 April), the former date of the Annunciation, largely assumed this role. The date is significant in some of the works of Thomas Hardy, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
and Far from the Madding Crowd. The logic of using Lady Day
Lady Day
as the start of the year is that it roughly coincides with Equinox
Equinox
(when the length of day and night is equal); many ancient cultures still use this time as the start of the new year, for example, the Iranian new year
Iranian new year
and the original Hebrew new year. In some traditions it also reckons years AD from the moment of the Annunciation, which is considered to take place at the moment of the conception of Jesus at the Annunciation
Annunciation
rather than at the moment of his birth at Christmas.[citation needed] In Ireland, however, Lady's Day means 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, and is a day when fairs are celebrated in many country towns.[citation needed] See also[edit]

New Year International Women's Day
International Women's Day
— 8 March Mother's Day Mothering Sunday National Women's Day

References[edit]

^ Catholic Encyclopedia, General Chronology (Beginning of the Year). ^ See Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Fytte Three ^ Adams, Leonard P. "Agricultural Depression and Farm Relief in England, 1813–1852" Reviewed in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 95(4):735–737 (1932) ^ "The Tenant League v. Common Sense" Irish Quarterly Review 1(1):25–45 (

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