Saints

Dec. 26th, 2013 06:30 pm
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
[personal profile] kaberett
I don't saints much, particularly, especially not these days, but:
  • I will occasionally mutter darkly under my breath to St Anthony upon having lost An Thinge;
  • St Piran, obvs, because Mebyon Kernow;
  • St Christopher, because of journeys - he is often painted on house-ends in rural Austria, visible as you leave or enter villages, and shrines along roadsides to him are common;
  • and Heiliger Nikolaus, after whom The Shetland Pony is named (having been born on his day), and who is a big part of my cultural heritage.

If I were a better Catholic I'd be telling you about all the early pre-C10th female saints my mum considered taking her confirmation name for (she ended up going with Mary), but I'm not, so there we go.

However! Saints are one of the places where my status as a third-gen immigrant and heritage speaker of German/speaker of English as a second language end up interacting really weirdly with the bit where I'm a slightly bitey atheist, because - polishing one's shoes and leaving them beneath a window on the evening of the fifth of December is what one does, it's one of the ways you know where you're from, and - reconciling my intense antipathy to secular celebration of religious festivals (this is why it is generally a bad idea to wish me a happy Christmas) with my cultural heritage is... sometimes an interesting line to walk.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-12-26 11:42 pm (UTC)
thefairymelusine: line drawing of a knight lying by a bank of flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] thefairymelusine
Thank you, this is really interesting.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-12-27 01:34 am (UTC)
barrelofrain: (Default)
From: [personal profile] barrelofrain
Catholicism flashback! I took Bernadette for my confirmation name; I think I identified with her illness, and I was fascinated with the whole Lourdes/miracles stuff.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-12-27 02:05 am (UTC)
macey: (sheep!)
From: [personal profile] macey
On the subject of confirmation names, my mother is Linda Laura Anna-Maria Lucia Mace-Michalik, which is utterly fabulous (Lucia for the Italian martyr who accidentally Sweden). She's second-gen Italian/Czech. Her first language was Italian, but when she came home from primary school sad because the other kids teased her, her mother refused to ever speak Italian around the house again.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-12-27 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] khronos_keeper
Man, I wish our academic backgrounds were closer, because the level of your reflection and analytical thought are like a billion times something I want to engage in that kind of setting, but all I can do is flail and say "Rocks! :D"

Your extremely Old World, Continental European Catholocism is intriguing to me. Some of this I learned while I was a kid growing up, and my French classes (and their German counterparts) often included holiday lessons that recall the exact rituals you're talking about. (And by which I don't mean at all to diminish your very personal background with my dimly remembered language classes, I'm just delighted I can connect to it on some level.)

My Catholic heritage is like 100% Irish and Irish American, and is therefore all about superstition and guilt. Which I'm pretty sure is the only reason I ended up baptized as a tiny baby, because otherwise my fairly out-of-it bio mom prolly couldn't have given an fuck. (It's also most likely the reason why my adoptive mother gave me a St. Christopher's medallion before I left for Korea.)

Also, it's really weird to realize that your family background is staunch Catholic when everyone you grew up with is like the biggest Protestant ever. Something I don't examine very much, but it's kind of weird to me all the same.

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