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 "sollemnitas", a term of uncertain origin but possibly derived from "sollus" (whole) and "annus" (year), indicating a celebration occurring at yearly intervals. The Church always celebrates each solemnity every year.

olemnities of the General Roman Calendar

pecial Solemnities

These solemnities are observed throughout the entire Roman Catholic Church. In addition, there are some which are observed in particular places, regions, or in particular religious orders. For instance, when a parish or other church celebrates the feast or memorial of its titular saint or when it celebrates the anniversary of its dedication, it is treated as a solemnity. ["See" General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar § 59(I)(4).] The feast of Saint Patrick on 17 March is a solemnity in Ireland, and the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 16 July is a solemnity for the Carmelites.

Some solemnities are also Holy Days of Obligation, on which Catholics are required to attend Mass; some are not. Moreover, the canon law of the Catholic Church requires that on Holy Days of Obligation Catholics are to avoid "work" and "affairs" that "hinder the worship to be rendered to God" or interfere with "suitable relaxation of mind and body" just as is required on Sundays. [Can. 1247, [ "Code of Canon Law"] ]


Solemnities never impede the Easter Triduum, Pentecost, Sundays of Advent, Sundays of Lent, Sundays of the Easter Season, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, and the Easter Octave. No solemnity except the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday can fall during Holy Week or during the Octave of Easter; the Church transfers any otherwise scheduled solemnity to another available date.

Solemnities of the Lord (Epiphany, Annunciation, Ascension, Corpus Christi, Trinity, Christ the King, Nativity), Solemnities of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Mother of God, Assumption, Immaculate Conception), Solemnities of Saints Listed in the General Calendar (Joseph, Nativity of John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, All Saints), All Souls Day, and proper solemnities can impede other Sundays throughout the year.

For all intents and purposes, this means that a solemnity always can impede a Sunday in Ordinary Time.


The Creed is recited at Mass, and there are two scriptural readings and a responsoral psalm before the Gospel. When a solemnity falls on a Friday, the obligation to abstain from meat or do penance is lifted. ["Codex Iuris Canonici" canon 1251.]

See also

* Liturgical year
* Holy Day of Obligation
* Octave (liturgical)
* Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church
* Afterfeast


External links

* [ Universalis] An excellent liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church including the liturgy of the hours and the mass readings.
* [ "Solemnity"] article from "The Catholic Encyclopedia" (1912)
* [] Liturgical calendar for the year 2008 in the United States of America

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Solemnity — • The word solemnity is here used to denote the amount of intrinsic or extrinsic pomp with which a feast is celebrated Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Solemnity     Solemnity   …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Solemnity — So*lem ni*ty, n.; pl. {Solemnities}. [L. solemnitas, solennitas: cf. F. solennit[ e], solemnit[ e], OF. also sollempnit[ e].] 1. A rite or ceremony performed with religious reverence; religious or ritual ceremony; as, the solemnity of a funeral,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Solemnity — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Heavy Metal Gründung 1998 Website …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • solemnity — I noun awesomeness, ceremoniousness, ceremony, dignity, graveness, gravitas, gravity, impressiveness, pomp, seriousness, severitas, soberness, sobriety, solemn feeling, stateliness, tradition, tristitia II index ceremony …   Law dictionary

  • solemnity — late 13c., “observance of ceremony,” from O.Fr. solempnete, from L. solempnitas, from sollemnis (see SOLEMN (Cf. solemn)). Meaning “state of being solemn” is from 1712. Related: Solemnities …   Etymology dictionary

  • solemnity — ► NOUN (pl. solemnities) 1) the state or quality of being solemn. 2) a solemn rite or ceremony …   English terms dictionary

  • solemnity — [sə lem′nə tē] n. pl. solemnities [ME solempnete < OFr solempneté < L sollemnitas] 1. solemn ceremony, ritual, observance, etc. 2. solemn feeling, character, or appearance; serious or awesome quality; gravity 3. Law the formality needed to… …   English World dictionary

  • solemnity — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ great ▪ The monument was unveiled with great solemnity. ▪ mock ▪ due … OF SOLEMNITY ▪ air …   Collocations dictionary

  • solemnity — UK [səˈlemnətɪ] / US noun Word forms solemnity : singular solemnity plural solemnities 1) [uncountable] the seriousness of someone s behaviour or attitude 2) solemnities [plural] ceremonies that are held to celebrate a serious and important… …   English dictionary

  • solemnity — noun (plural ties) Date: 14th century 1. formal or ceremonious observance of an occasion or event 2. a solemn event or occasion 3. a solemn condition or quality < the solemnity of his words > …   New Collegiate Dictionary