San Antonio

This post is also available in: Spanish

Last week it was Saint Anthony´s Day and, although Saint-based festivities are becoming less popular because of a more secular calendar, it is a date I usually don´t forget. There is a powerful reason that explains that, my oldest son is called Antonio, and it is also the name of different members of the family.

Following on from this, the 13th of June was a day when family usually got together around a table where some exceptional food was served up. I have a pleasant memory of a cake made of flaky pastry and meringue. The date is still close to my heart even though I am not part of the get togethers now.

The oldest memory I have related to this celebration is the pray my grandmother used to say. It is only the beginning of the prayer that I remember: “San Antonio de Padua, que en Padua naciste,…” As the memories blur with the passage of time and the fact that auditory memory is the weakest, you may understand that I cannot finish the prayer. However, it is not a handicap in this internet era; after a brief search on the internet, I could find a website that offered different folklore related to San Antonio, and this pray among others.

What I did not know is that San Antonio was not born in Padua but in Lisbon; it is something I found out when I visited the city. What is more, reading a friend´s blog I learned that the locals in Lisbon give a pot of basil as a present to their beloved ones. The plant is decorated with a flower made of paper where some love verses are written. A beautiful tradition, I wish someone would give me a pot of basil with touching verses dedicated to me.

In my youth, San Antonio represented carrying Christ as child and with a lily, he was the Saint you prayed to for a boyfriend. Also, he is the one you pray to when you lose something. Nowadays young girls probably don´t need a Saint to find a boyfriend, and if we lose something, we usually give up looking for it instead of praying.

I must say that, despite all the prayers my grandmother taught me, I don´t ask the Saints for anything. And what about you, dear readers, do you remember any prayers passed down to you orally? Do you have any preferred Saint? How do you offer prayers?

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