Submit your word to be a Word of the Day!
late 14c., from Latin rogationem (nominative rogatio) "an asking, prayer, entreaty," noun of action from past participle stem of rogare "to ask," apparently a figurative use and meaning literally "to stretch out (the hand)," from PIE *rog-, 0-grade form of root *reg- "move in a straight line" (see regal). Related: Rogations.
Rogation days were the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day, a time for processions round fields blessing crops and praying for good harvest, also blessing the boundary markers of each parish. Discouraged by Protestants as superstitious, but continued or revived in modified form as beating the bounds.
in the Roman Catholic church, festivals devoted to special prayers for the crops; they comprise the Major Rogation (Major Litany) on April 25 and the Minor Rogations (Minor Litany) on the three days before Ascension Day (40th day after Easter). The Major Rogation originated as a Christian festival to supplant a pagan Roman festival, Robigalia, which consisted of a procession from Rome to a point outside the city, where a dog and a sheep were sacrificed to save the crops from blight (robigo, "wheat rust"). According to a document of Pope Gregory I, the Christian festival was established as an annual event by the year 598. The Christian procession followed the same route as the pagan procession for a certain distance and then turned off and returned to St. Peter's Basilica, where mass was celebrated.