Movable feast

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The term movable feast is used in a liturgical sense, but it has also come into use as an idiom with varying meanings. We will examine the definition of movable feast, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A movable feast is a celebration on the liturgical calendar that changes its date from year to year, but occurs on the same day of the week. The term movable feast has been in use since the early 1400s, and primarily refers to Easter Sunday and the other liturgical days associated with Easter, such as Ash Wednesday and Pentecost Sunday. The memoir A Movable Feast, written by Ernest Hemingway, was published in 1964 and popularized the use of the expression as an idiom. There is little agreement as to what the idiom a movable feast actually means. One definition of a movable feast is of something that changes over time. Another definition is something that nourishes your soul, but is transitory. Yet a third definition is something special that one stumbles across. The term movable feast is also sometimes used in a humorous manner to mean a picnic or a progressive dinner. The plural form of movable feast is movable feasts.


Easter is currently a “movable feast” – a date determined by the lunar calendar rather than the normal Gregorian or Julian calendars, which follow the cycle of the sun. (The Mirror)

The three-mile boardwalk is its own movable feast for people-watching — jump in and ride along. (The Seattle Times)

The author of this movable feast is Rieu, the Mad Genius of Maastricht (his hometown in southern Holland). (The Los Angeles Times)

Everything we know about the Trump campaign is that it was a shambolic movable feast of warring egos, relentless leaks and summary firings. (The Post and Courier)