late 14c., "solemn supplication" (especially in reference to rogation days), from Latin rogationem (nominative rogatio) "an asking, prayer, entreaty," noun of action from past participle stem of rogare "to ask, inquire, question," also "to propose (a law, a candidate)," via the notion of "ask" the people; also especially "ask a favor, entreat, request." Apparently this is a figurative use of a PIE verb meaning literally "to stretch out (the hand)," from PIE *rog-, variant of the root *reg- "move in a straight line." Related: Rogations.
Rogation days were the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day, a time for processions round fields blessing crops and praying for good harvest, also blessing the boundary markers of each parish. Discouraged by Protestants as superstition, they were continued or revived in modified form as beating the bounds.