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Q.

Why is a special day called a red letter day?

Tags: health, entertainment, environment
Asked by Shan Real, 09 Nov '09 03:04 am
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Answers (2)

 
1.

This comes from the practise of marking the dates of church festivals on calendars in red. The first explicit reference to the term in print that we have comes from America. This is a simple use of the term \"Red letter day\" in the diary of Sarah Knight - The journals of Madam Knight, and Rev. Mr. Buckingham ... written in 1704 & 1710, which was published in American Speech in 1940. The practice is much earlier than that though. William Caxton, referred to it in The boke of Eneydos, translated and printed in 1490: \"We wryte yet in oure kalenders the hyghe festes wyth rede lettres of coloure of purpre.\" The term came into wider use in 1549 when the first Book of Common Prayer included a calendar with holy days marked in red ink. For example, Annunciation (Lady Day), 25th March, was designated in the book as a red-letter day. The term is sometimes written without the hyphen - \'red letter day\'.
Answered by Arshad Khan, 09 Nov '09 08:56 am

 
  
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2.

A red letter day (sometimes hyphenated as red-letter day or called scarlet day in academia) is any day of special significance. The term originates from Medieval church calendars. Illuminated manuscripts often marked initial capitals and highlighted words in red ink, known as rubrics. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 decreed the saint\'s days, feasts and other holy days, which came to be printed on church calendars in red. The term came into wider usage with the appearance in 1549 of the first Book of Common Prayer in which the calendar showed special holy days in red ink. Many current calendars have special dates and holidays such as Sundays, Christmas Day and Midsummer Day rendered in red colour instead of black. On red letter days, judges of the English High Court (Queen\'s Bench Division) wear, at sittings of the Court of Law, their scarlet robes (See court dress). Also in the United Kingdom, other civil dates have been added to the original religious dates. These in ...more
Answered by Pardeep kapoor, 09 Nov '09 03:07 am

 
  
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