Holidays Christmas & Advent Culture & Science

Roráty – morning Advent masses and their tradition in Czech Republic

Roráty are specific masses held during the Advent time.

The music is very specific, you can listen to some samples below.

What are Roráty

rorátyRoráty are not just any morning mass. They happen only during the time of Advent and they are dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Moreover, in the Czech Republic, they are accompanied by very unique liturgical chants accompanied by the sound of the organ, if possible.

The lyrics usually speak of the angels asking the Virgin Mary whether she’s ready to be the mother of the savior and she replies.

This type of mass has extended also to other countries, especially in the central and eastern-European region, for example, Poland and Hungary.

Little Bit of History

The origins of the roráty goes back to the Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. He introduced the all-year practice of the so-called votive mass (missa votiva) which was most practiced in the 16th century by the brotherhoods of Literati.

After this kind of mass became a thing of the Advent, it was held on every Advent morning. People would set off to church while there was still dark outside, carrying long thin candles to lighten their way to mass. They celebrated the coming of the light as a symbol of Jesus Christ.

According to Michael Pospíšil, expert on old Czech music, without the existence roráty, Czech people wouldn’t be speaking Czech today. The Utraquists translated the Latin texts to Czech and the Czech humanists of the 16th century added more texts.

After Joseph II. prohibited the brotherhoods’ existence, the practice of roráty started to decline, although there have been efforts to renew it in the 20th century.

The name roráty comes from „Rorate coeli desuper“ (Let the dew descent from the heavens) which is the initial chant of the votive mass of the Virgin Mary.

Listen to Roráty

You may also like...