Friday, 20 July 2012

Holy Faced Holidays

I am in a holiday mood and thus my mind is wandering around the stranger and more amusing stories from saintly hagiography. Today is the feast of St Wilgefortis, the daughter of a Pagan King in Portugal. Do not ask when she lived, that would only spoil the fun  - she became popular with the faithful in the 14th Century and that is all you need to know. 

Wilgefortis, whose name is a variation of Virgo fortis (strong virgin) or Hilge Vartz (holy face), for reasons which will soon become abundantly clear, was one of those pious and holy young women of times gone by who made a vow of chastity. Of course, her father was not having much to do with this, her marriage to the nearest nobleman being worth a pretty penny or two, and he decided she should marry a pagan prince of his choosing. That's the way things were back then.

Not to be bullied, Wilgefortis prayed earnestly for God to deliver he from her unwanted wedding day. She grew a beard. Her suitor suddenly changed his mind about the engagement and, horrified, her father had her crucified (as you do). Rumour also has it that, whilst she was still hanging on the cross, a passing fiddler was so moved to pity that he stopped to play a lament. She appreciated his music so much she kicked off her golden boot! He was arrested for theft and was condemned to death. In order to prove his innocence he asked to play before Wilgefortis a second time. In the presence of all, a now presumably deceased Wilgefortis, kicked off her other golden boot, establishing his innocence and gaining peace and quiet for all eternity.

I might come back to this post with a proper recipe later on, but for now I'll let you in on a holiday secret. Today a friend of mine came round for lunch, and I laid out Port Salut, Camembert, tomato, mozzarella and basil salad, prawns fried in a hot pan with chilli, garlic, olive oil and a little wine, olive bread, french bread and bottle of cold Riesling. It was yummy. #Friday Fast Day

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