Debbie McGee discusses Christians on BBC show Pilgrimage
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Christians will take part in their latest religious celebration this week, a festival known as Corpus Christi. Roman Catholics primarily observe the occasion, alongside some other Christians. Corpus Christi is a festival of joy that sees church congregations spill out into the streets.
What is Corpus Christi?
Corpus Christi is a Latin term which translates to “the body of Christ”.
The festival itself, which falls in mid-may to early June, celebrates the Eucharist.
The body of Christ, in this case, is the wine and bread his followers ate during the Last Supper.
On Thursday, June 3, observers will re-enact the gathering with food, drink, prayer and readings.
Many will also follow the service of Thomas Aquinas designed for the occasion.
The Italian philosopher and saint devised a liturgy composed of five hymns and an additional prayer for revellers to read during Corpus Christi specifically.
However, the mode of celebration may vary depending on the country and community.
Some congregations celebrate during mass, while others may take the occasion to the streets via parades.
The latter mode is used most around Western Europe and Latin America.
There, the occasion sees people filter into elaborately decorated streets.
They follow sacramental bread – known as the sacred host – carried on a set route.
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Revellers may also organise music and other events to celebrate the occasion.
Parades are less common in the UK, where churches prefer to limit public gatherings to sharing church wafers.
The Church of England celebrates fasting on the same day, the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday.
They call the occasion the Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion.
And church leaders celebrate through communion, offering their congregation bread and wine.
Others may know the festival as the Feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ or Day of Wreaths.
Some churches may start celebrating Corpus Christi with earlier ceremonies.
More modest gatherings may include the Adoration of the Sacrament.
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