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decade - in relation to praying Options
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 8:49:55 AM

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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Hello!

What is a "decade" in relation to praying together as a family (19th century USA)?

For example, in this sentence (from "Gone With The Wind" by Margaret Mitchell):

Hastily she began her decade, telling off the beads automatically but with a depth of emotion in her voice that caused Mammy to open her eyes and shoot a searching glance at her.

Also, if you forgive me for the second question, I don't understand what "telling off the beads" means here either.

I only know a decade as a "10 years period", and "beads" I think I know, but can't understand in this context.

Thank you very much!
Kirill

alertec
Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 9:05:23 AM
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She must be a Roman Catholic praying on her rosary beads. The rosary is chain with three sets of ten beads that are called "decades". On each bead, one recites a "Hail Mary", a prayer to the mother of Jesus. "Telling off the beads" is probably a way of describing this prayer, which is repeated for each bead. Devout Catholics often carry their beads with them.
alertec
Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 9:07:50 AM
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Oops - I made a mistake. It's 5 sets of 10 beads.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 9:09:48 AM

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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Wow, I've learnt so much new.
Thanks a lot, Alertec!

Yes, they are Catholic. Her father is Irish and her mother is French, and we're talking about the 19th century.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 9:12:05 AM

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It is traditional in the Catholic church to say prayers in sequences.

The rosary beads are to help you keep track . . .



Oops - I was distracted while I was answering and you already had your answer - anyway, there's a picture.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 6:01:52 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 405
Neurons: 2,117
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Thank you for the picture, Drago!

My next guess is then that the prayers somehow "rhyme" with ten beads, like maybe there are ten lines in each... Is it so?

My grandgrandmother was Catholic of Polish origin, so I remember seeing her praying quietly at times. She didn't seem to have those beads, however, at least I never saw her having one.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 6:16:53 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 28,831
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hmmm . . . Think

No - there are three prayers (specific ones for the rosary).
Usually, there are five bigger beads (the blue ones on the picture) and fifty smaller ones.

You start at the first big one and say the 'Pater Noster' (Our Father, who art in Heaven . . . ).
Then on to the first small bead and say a 'Hail Mary' - then the next small bead for a 'Hail Mary'.
And so on for ten 'Hail Mary's .
Then you hit the next large bead. Here you say a "Glory be . . .".
That's the end of one 'decade'.

The whole cycle is longer than that and starts at the crucifix and goes three times round the circle.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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