Quaker names for times and seasons

Many of the testimonies and practices established by early Friends have survived only in part. One which has almost died out in Britain is the naming of days and months by number instead of by names of pagan origin. It is a rare now to hear ‘first day’ instead of ‘Sunday’ or ‘third month’ instead of March, though the practise is still acceptable.

Another testimony held by early Friends was that against the keeping of ‘times and seasons’. We might understand this as part of the conviction that all of life is sacramental; that since all times are therefore holy, no time should be marked out as more only; that what God has done for us should always be remembered and not only on the occasions named Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.

This is a testimony which seems to be dying of neglect. Many friends, involved with family and the wider society, keep Christmas; in some meetings, Easter and its meaning is neglected not only at the calendar time but throughout the year. What I would hope for is neither that we let the testimony die, nor that we keep it mechanically. I hope for a rediscovery of its truth, that we should remember and celebrate the work of God in us and for us whenever God by the Spirit calls as to this remembrance and this joy.

Janet Scott
Christian Faith and Practice, Britain Yearly Meeting 27:42

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