Processions took place before the principal Mass every Sunday and on
important feasts. These were the most common; other processions could
occur at the end of Lauds and Vespers of the Office, especially during
the octaves of Christmas and Easter, or to a particular altar on a saint's
feast. Usages with regard to processions varied from place to place. Processions
on Palm Sunday, for instance, were unique to each church and could be
particularly elaborate, often involving movement around a city or town
to reenact Christ's entry into Jerusalem. Directions
for some processions can be found in a missal; the most extensive
information appears in an ordinal. The chants for a procession were proper
to the feast.
A processional contains the chants sung during the processions
on certain important feasts of the church year, including Christmas ,
the Purification of the Virgin Mary, or Candlemas (February 2) , Ash Wednesday,
the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday, the major litanies (April 25)
and Rogations (during three days before the feast of the Ascension). Processionals
began as small booklets of chants in the tenth and eleventh centuries,
but gradually developed into separate books, while retaining their small
size for portability.
chants for the Feast of the Purification (2 February) in a processional
from 14th century Flanders.
from a nuns' convent in 15th century Italy, showing the rubrics for
the processions on the Feast of the Purification.
the beginning of the procession for Christmas in a processional from
16th century Germany.
Readings for the Mass