I love the Feast of the Transfiguration, and if you have been following my holiday blog for a while, you probably realize it’s because I love these obscure festivals that are not well known. It celebrates the moment when Christ appeared to his disciples, shining like the sun, and God’s voice was heard saying, “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.”
It’s been celebrated in various Christian denominations since the ninth century and was dedicated as a universal feast by Pope Callixtus III in 1456. Most Catholic and Anglican churches and many Orthodox Christian churches celebrate the Transfiguration on August 6, but it is assigned to other dates as well. In Orthodox churches that still use the Julian calendar, it’s celebrated on August 19. And Lutherans and United Methodists celebrate it at the end of the Epiphany season, while in the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran church of Finland it’s celebrated on the eighth Sunday after Pentecost.
Whichever date you choose to celebrate, I like to use this day as a time to acknowledge the divinity that can be seen in all beings. Walking around looking at each person you meet as if they were God will transfigure your experience of life. If God doesn’t work for you, look for the light, shining like the sun, that radiates from all beings.
Waverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”
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