Natal days a name applied in early ecclesiastical language, especially in martyrologies and funerary inscriptions, not only to the natural, but also to the spiritual birth. SEE NATALITIA. The term was also used in many ways, thus:
(1) Natales episcopatus, the days of a bishop's ordination, observed as an annual festival.
(2) Natalis Christi, day of our Lord's birth (Christmas). SEE CHRISTMAS.
(3) Natales martyrum, anniversaries of the martyrs; their sufferings and death being called their nativity. (Commemorations of martyrs may be traced back to an early date. The feasts of the Innocents and of the Maccabees were celebrated before the time of Chrysostom. SEE MARTYRS, FESTIVALS OF THE.
(4) Natales urbium, the two annual days kept in memory of the foundation of the two great cities, Rome and Constantinople.
(5) Natales genuini, in memory of the emperor's birthday, and
(6) Natales imperii, in memory of his inauguration. Ordinary birthdays were forbidden to be celebrated in Lent.
(7) Natalis calicis, the Thursday of Easter.
(8) The day of baptism was also called Nativitas spiritualis. See Eadie. Eccles. Cyclop. s.v.; Bingham, Antiquities of the Christian Church, 2:158, 1124, 1170; Aschbach, Kirchen-Lex. 4:296; Riddle, Christian Antiquities (see Index); Siegel, Christl. Alterthumer (see Index in volume 4); Martigny, Dictionnaire des Antiquites, s.v. Natale.