[quote="yellowbird, post:5, topic:314964"]
So solemnities are like minor celebrations, or observances whereas feast days are of greater importance? I can never remember how that works.
Is St. Patrick's Day a feast day a feast day or solemnity? I remember when it fell on a Friday, we were excused from abstaining from meat. At least in Chicago.. it's a big day here. :irish3:
Ok - so I now understand that the lenten sacrifices are personal - will explain that to the kids. That totally makes sense.
You have it reversed. Solemnities are the highest rank of feast days, such as Christmas, Assumption, All Saints, etc. Feasts are the middle rank, and memorials are the lowest rank. During Lent there are only two solemnities, St. Joseph on 19 March and the Annunciation on 25 March. These are customarily the only two days where people break their Lenten observances. This year Annunciation falls during Holy Week, so it is transferred after the Easter Octave, so we only get one break, so to speak, on St. Joseph's Day.
If the patron of one's parish or diocese has a feast or memorial that falls during Lent (such as St. Patrick in the Archdiocese of New York, or St. Cyril of Jerusalem parish), then that would also be observed as a solemnity in that diocese or parish only.
It is traditional to observe an all-around more austere lifestyle during Lent. A traditional parish is more likely to stress this, but even in other places, it depends on the preaching of the parish priests. It is customary to avoid parties and dining out. Various people that I know do not turn on the TV, or maybe radio, or stay off Facebook.