Feast of the Ass

Orientis partibus adventavit asinus


The Feast of the Ass was a popular mediaeval feast until it was suppressed around the 15th century along with the Feast of Fools. It was normally held on the 14th January. Hat-tip to Julian Lord for reminding me of this 13th century mediaeval Catholic hymn “Orientis partibus” and he drew my attention to a YouTube video of the hymn being performed by an Italian group of strolling players:

Orientis partibus adventavit asinus
pulcher et fortissimus sarcinis aptissimus

Hey, sir asne, hey!

Hic in collibus Sichan
iam nutritus sub Ruben
transiit per Iordanem
saliit in Bethlehem

Saltu vincit hinnulos
dammas et capreolos
super dromedarios velox madianeos

Aurum de Arabia thus
et myrrham de Saba
tulit in ecclesia virtus Asinaria

Dum trahit vehicula multa cum sarcinula
illius mandibula dura terit pabula

Cum aristis hordeum comedit
et carduum
triticum e palea
segregat in area

Amen dicas, asine, iam satur de gramine
Amen, amen itera aspernare vetera

www.teatrodastrada.org Performed by Faber Teatro singing in the town of Bracciano, 12 July 2009. Manuel Benyacar, Cristina Delmastro, Roberto Di Costa

Another version can be heard here, “The Feast of Fools / Mass of the Asses, Drunkards and Gamblers: Orientis partibus (Conductus Subdiaconi ad Epistolum)” by New London Consort & Philip Pickett (iTunes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yoOyIl2LIs

Carnival01 The following is the Kyrie Asini, as it might have been performed during a Mass on that feast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySXYoKockpQ

Kyrie eleison, Asini hec est dies solemnis, erguasine eleison Christe eleison Hinhan eleison Kyrie eleison Hinhan eleison

Lord have mercy upon us. Ass, whose most solemn day this is, have mercy upon us. Christ have mercy upon us. Lord have mercy upon us. Eeyore have mercy upon us. ass1The Feast of Fools, New London Consort, Dir Philip Pickett: “Kyrie Asini” by New London Consort & Philip Pickett (iTunes)


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