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Letter: Our Lady vanished

CLARE GARNER writes: "...the all-male clergy has managed to spot the significance of 25 March. They urge congregations to begin their run- up to the big day exactly nine months in advance, with prayer" ("Catholics shun millennium", 21 February).

Doesn't your religious affairs correspondent know that Christians (male and female) have celebrated 25 March as the feast of the Annunciation since the earliest days of the Church? So important was this feast day (called Lady Day in England) that, from the 12th century onwards, much of Christian Europe regarded 25 March, not 1 January, as the starting point of the year. This remained the legal and official mode of reckoning in England until the reform of the calendar in 1751.


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