churching


churching
   Jewish law stated that women were under taboo after childbirth, because of pollution by blood, until ritually cleansed by a priest (Leviticus 12: 1-8); Mary obeyed this rule after the birth of Jesus (Luke 2: 22-4). Modern liturgies stress thanksgiving, but medieval symbolism still implied impurity, for the women came to church veiled, 'without looking at the sun or sky', or other people, till they had been blessed with holy water, and given a candle. Traces of this attitude remained in the refusal of some Anglican clergy, even as late as the 1950s, to let a woman take Communion before she had been churched (Sutton, 1992:).
   In popular belief, a woman who went out of her own house before being churched would bring bad luck on anyone she met, or any house she entered, and often on herself too. It was still common in many areas in the 1950s for vicars to be asked to perform the rite for a non-churchgoing woman, so that she would be free to go shopping or visit friends (Radford, Radford, and Hole, 1961: 100). In other places, 'being churched' did not refer to a special ritual but to the first time a woman attended a normal Sunday service after giving birth; in Yorkshire in the 1980s, women who never normally went to church or chapel would slip in for a few minutes during a service as soon as they were fit to walk, for otherwise nobody would let them into their houses - it would be 'asking for trouble'
   ■ Clark, 1982: 115, 122-4; Gill, 1993: 26-7).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Churching — For the ceremony wherein a blessing is given to mothers after recovery from childbirth, see Churching of women. Churching refers to the attendance of any church activity, including Sunday School, sacrament meetings, and weekday activities.… …   Wikipedia

  • Churching — Recorded as Churchin, Churchine, Churcheing, and usually Churching, this is quite a rare English surname. It is probably locational from a place called Churchingford (the church by the shallow river crossing) from the pre 7th century chirche… …   Surnames reference

  • Churching — Church Church, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Churched}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Churching}.] To bless according to a prescribed form, or to unite with in publicly returning thanks in church, as after deliverance from the dangers of childbirth; as, the churching… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Churching —    Equivalent to the Purification among the Jews, and which in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary is commemorated as a Feast of the Church on February 2. The reader is directed to the service set forth in the Prayer Book under the title, The… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • churching — noun Date: 15th century the administration or reception of a rite of the church; specifically a ceremony in some churches by which women after childbirth are received in the church with prayers, blessings, and thanksgiving …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • churching — church ceremony given to women after childbirth Ecclesiastical Terms …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • churching — tʃɜːtʃ n. building in which Christians meet to worship; public worship; members of a religious denomination; denomination; leaders of a religious body; organized religion v. take to church; conduct a special service (in thanks for the safe… …   English contemporary dictionary

  • churching — church·ing …   English syllables

  • churching — ˈchərchiŋ, ə̄ch , əich noun ( s) Etymology: from gerund of church (II) : the administration or reception of a rite of the church; specifically : a ceremony in some high liturgical churches by which after childbirth women are received in the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Churching of Women — • A blessing given by the Church to mothers after recovery from childbirth Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Churching of Women     Churching of Women      …   Catholic encyclopedia