John Campbell’s ’85 Medieval Literature class observed the Sundial, which marks not only the time of day but holy days on the church calendar, last Friday on the way to the Bishop’s Garden for outdoor class. The shadow of the crosspiece signaled it was almost Whitsunday, which occurred yesterday, May 23.
Students had come across the term in text before, in Hartmann’s Iwein, as a Christian festival in the setting of many Arthurian romances. Whitsunday, also known as Pentecost, is the seventh Sunday after Easter, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus. In the Middle Ages, Whitsuntide, the week following Whitsunday, was a time of celebration, filled with dances and parades, among other things. Serfs were even granted a week’s vacation from having to work on their lord’s land.
So when the Sundial looks like this, we on the Close know, as any medieval villein would have as well, that we are in the heart of the lusty month of May and vacation beckons!
Located in Washington D.C., St. Albans School is a private, all boys day and boarding school. For more than a century, St. Albans has offered a distinctive educational experience for young men in grades 4 through 12. While our students reach exceptional academic goals and exhibit first-rate athletic and artistic achievements, as an Episcopal school we place equal emphasis upon moral and spiritual education.