Today, May 21st is the Sixth Sunday of Easter, commonly called Rogation Sunday.
Rogation days are days of prayer and fasting in Western Christianity. They are observed with processions and the Litany of the Saints. The so-called major rogation is held on 25 April; the minor rogations are held on Monday to Wednesday preceding Ascension Thursday. The word rogation comes from the Latin verb "rogare," meaning "to ask", which reflects the beseeching of God for the appeasement of his anger and for protection from calamities.
It has been the tradition to celebrate this day with processions in the fields, or if not that, than to the church garden. I've attached some wonderful photos of English Rogation processions, as well as one of my very favorite paintings, which is really worth taking a look at, perhaps while listening to this charming march.
Eugène Gigout (23 March 1844 – 9 December 1925) was born in Nancy, and died in Paris. A pupil of Camille Saint-Saëns, he served as the organist of the French capital's Saint-Augustin Church for 62 years. He became widely known as a teacher and his output as a composer was considerable. Renowned as an expert improviser, he also founded his own music school. His nephew by marriage was Léon Boëllmann, another distinguished French composer and organist.
"Marche des Rogations" opens with an alpine horn and its echo, this is a whimsical rustic serenade ("Allegretto moderato semplice"), evocative of agrarian celebrations surrounding the planting and blessing of crops. The piece was published in 1900, in versions for pipe organ and for the harmonium.
The piece really captures the feeling of the Rogation procession, and reminds me of Dubois' "Marche de Rois Mages," but that one has retained far more popularity.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Gigout, St. Augustin as it looked in his day, and the previously mentioned Rogation photos and the very beautiful painting that has MANY fascinating details in it.