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A Solemnity of the Roman Catholic Church is a principal holy day in the liturgical calendar, usually commemorating an event in the life of Jesus, His mother Mary, or other important saints. The observance begins with the vigil on the evening before the actual date of the feast.
The word is taken from the Latin word sollemnitas, a term of uncertain origin but possibly derived from sollus (whole) and annus (year), indicating a Holy day of obligation occurring at yearly intervals. The Church always celebrates each solemnity every year.
Some of the references to the word "solemnity" can be found in the Old Testament in:
1 Chronicles Chapter 15
2 Chronicles Chapter 5 - The ark is brought with great solemnity into the temple...
So*lem"ni*ty, n.; pl. Solemnities. Etym: [l. solemnitas, solennitas: Cf. F. solennité, solemnité, of. also sollempnité.]
1. A rite or ceremony performed with religious reverence; religious Or ritual ceremony; as, the solemnity of a funeral, a sacrament. Great was the cause; our old solemnities from no blind zeal or fond Tradition rise, but saved from death, our argives yearly pay these Grateful honors to the god of day. Pope.
2. ceremony adapted to impress with awe. The forms and solemnities of the last judgment. Atterburry.
3. Ceremoniousness; impressiveness; seriousness; grave earnestness; Formal dignity; gravity. With much glory and great solemnity. Chaucer. The statelines and gravity of the spaniards shows itself in the Solemnity of their language. Addison. These promises were often made with great solemnity and confirmed With an oath. J. Edwards.
4. Hence, affected gravity or seriousness. Solemnity 's a cover for a sot. Young.
5. Solemn state or feeling; awe or reverence; also, that which Produces such a feeling; as, the solemnity of an audience; the Solemnity of westminster abbey.
Defn: a solemn or formal observance; proceeding according to due Form; the formality which is necessary to render a thing done valid.
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