Monday, September 18, 2006
You make my blood boil!
The feast of St. Januarius.
Always a fun event in Naples - people flock there to see if the saint's blood liquefies. It is hard for non-'Napolidons' to understand. If the blood liquefies miraculously, then no disasters are in the offing - if it does not liquefy, watch out.
Today it is more restrained in the Cathedral and people applaud when the 'miraculo' occurrs. In times past it could get rather dicey. St. John Joseph of the Cross once lost his cane in the crowd, but miraculously called it back across the Cathedral, to the great excitement of those gathered. (Eat your heart out Harry Potter!)
[A little anecdote, my friend's 'pazzi' mother, who was my brother's mother-in-law, used to tell people "va Napola!" when she was angry, this was a substitute for telling them to "go to hell". Matter of fact, my friend Roberto's parents said the same thing - I guess you didn't have to confess that. I even used it somewhat successfully when I was in the monastery. It's all in the vocal inflection, the tone, to totally devastate the person you're pissed at. At any rate, it just goes to show you Napoli is not exactly a paradise.]
You have to understand that people from this region of Italy are a little excitable. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood populated with people from Benevento. These are the Italians that are often stereotyped. They are very colorful.
It's a fun day in Napoli, just watch your pocketbook if you visit.
Oh! And the Saint? Bishop and martyr - see, he was beheaded - not by Muslims though. (Brief biography on Wikipedia.)
Non-Catholics have trouble understanding relics of saints - I don't at all - but I do wonder about the blood boiling thing. I really do believe it's most likely a miracle, but I don't grasp the point of it. I would have liked to see John Joseph's cane floating over everyone's head though. It just proves that Catholics are pretty fun people, and God has a sense of humor. Since He is supposedly the same God as Allah, maybe He will give Muslims a sense of humor for Christmas.