Monday, 8 February 2010

The Winter Saint

Although the nights have been cool, we’ve just had a succession of warm sunny days - warm enough to sit on the terrace at lunch time without a jumper. The rosemary is flowering - covered in bees - and on the hillside the pink and blue anemone blanda are beginning to flower. It would be easy to be fooled into thinking winter was over in Italy, but it only takes the air flow to reverse and come in from eastern Europe instead of the African continent, to plunge the mountains back into rain and storm again. So we’ve been making the most of the weather, taking our cue from the Italians.
There are holidays every month in Italy, which has more saints’ days on the calendar than almost any other country in the world! We’ve just had the festival of San Biagio, with bunting in the streets, outdoor live music and bars open to midnight (and beyond). This is probably very appropriate, since San Biagio is the patron saint of the throat. If you’re feeling a little hoarse, have a fish bone stuck in your throat, or you’re suffering from mal di gola, he’s your man.
There’s a beautiful church - the Sanctuary of San Biagio - dedicated to him in Montepulciano and another in Venice. Apparently he’s known in Cornwall as St Blaise and is also the patron saint of Dubrovnik. The original Biagio/Blaise lived in a cave and cured animals. Some accounts say that he was starved, tortured and beheaded for his faith in the year 316. He’s usually depicted carrying two long candles in the form of a Greek cross.
I found this poem about him on the Poetry Foundation site.

1 comment:

  1. Once again a lovely post Kathleeen.
    How wonderful, sitting in the sun on a terrace for lunch.
    We of course have plenty of sun but at this time of year we have to shelter from its worst.
    I love that you take your cue from the locals. Oz has taken so much from our Italian and Greek migrants over the last decades. Their attitudes and outlook have had a delicious (literally) impact on our culture.

    Al

    Publish or Perish

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