The Magnificat (also known as the Song of Mary) is a canticle frequently sung (or spoken) liturgically in Christian church services. The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:46-55) where it spoken by the Virgin Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with the future John the Baptist, the child moves within Elizabeth's womb. When Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith, Mary sings the Magnificat in response.
The canticle echoes several Old Testament biblical passages, but the most pronounced allusions are to the Song of Hannah, from the Books of Samuel (1Samuel 2:1-10). Along with the Benedictus, as well as several Old Testament canticles, the Magnificat is included in the Book of Odes, an ancient liturgical collection found in some manuscripts of the Septuagint.
Within Christianity, the Magnificat is most frequently recited within the Liturgy of the Hours. In Western Christianity, the Magnificat is most often sung or recited during the main evening prayer service: Vespers within Roman Catholicism and Evening Prayer within Anglicanism. In Eastern Christianity, the Magnificat is usually sung at Sunday Matins. Within protestant groups, the Magnificat may be sung during worship services.