Saturday, 15 May 2021

unanimiter et constanter

Fรชted on this day as the patron saint of Oslo, Hallvard Vebjรธrnsson (†1043) is venerated as a martyr for his violent death in defence of a pregnant slave woman (thrall or trell, see also).
The son and heir to a wealthy estate in Vikin in the south-eastern part of the kingdom near the capital region and relative of Saint Olaf, Hallvard believed in the professed innocence of the women in face of accusations of theft and attempted to ferry her to safety aboard his boat. The accusers killed them both with a volley of arrows, disposing of the woman on the shore they had sailed to, and realising that Hallvard’s absence would arouse suspicion, they tied a millstone around his neck to ensure the body could be sunk without a trace. Miraculous and inopportunely for the assailants, however, Hallvard’s corpse bobbed to the surface and revealed the men’s crimes. The contemporary coat of arms of the Norwegian capital portrays this iconography—this day also celebrated as Oslo-dagen, with the motto Unanimous and Constant.

Thursday, 13 May 2021

glyceria

Meaning sweetness and sharing her feast day with the apparition of Our Lady of Fรกtima, the second century saint compelled to pray to a sculpture of Jupiter which turned to dust by her faith, for which she was sentenced to be torn asunder by wild animals. Glyceria expired, however, before she could be served. Interestingly, especially in light of the minor craze that erupted a few years ago over the chance to drink the mummy juice—sewage found in Egyptian sarcophagi, the relics of Glyceria are counted among the myroblytes, those whose remains (sometimes their icons as well as their coffins) exude the holy and healing Oil of the Saints.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

ice saints

Sainted fifth century bishop of Vienne in Gaul Mametus is venerated on this day as the first of three feast days that fall on the last possible—according to forecasters’ lore—frosty nights of the year—heralding the full onset of Spring and marching towards should we weather this last cold snap. Usually falling just before the Feast of the Ascension, Mamertus is credited with establishing the traditional Rogation Procession, a parade leading up to major holidays and is considered a ritual to stave off earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

revenge of the sixth

A bit deflating like learning a super hero’s catch-phrase was derived from a Ted Cruz joke or some other detestable tool, we were a little disheartened to learn the albeit non-canonical, not endorsed Star Wars holiday is sourced and cited to a celebratory message that the Conservative Party took out in the London Evening News just after exit polls declared Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister on this day in 1979:“Congratulations Maggie, May the Fourth be with you!” The advertisement caused some consternation among the Tories—thinking bringing in such a pop culture reference, though two years old by then, out of place, though calling Reagan’s his missile shield, the Strategic Defence Initiative after the space opera made the pun socially acceptable, and made the phrase, trope an enduring relic of the Reagan-Thatcher era.

Monday, 3 May 2021

information as a public good

The annual observance focused on the above theme, World Press Freedom Day was enshrined by the United Nations in 1998 as a time for reflection and remediation for governments to uphold their commitment to freedom of expression and an adversarial press and encourage journalists and media professionals to recount their struggles and pledge to truth and ethics in pursuit of reporting. The day falls on the anniversary of the forerunning Windhoek Declaration of 1991 when a consortium of newspaper reporters from all across Africa met in the Namibian capital resolved to promote an independent and pluralistic press for the continent. The Press Freedom Index is also updated at this time, ranking the ability for journalists to cover candidly government and corporate behaviour.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

o’zapft is!

Proposed by an events planner who helped organise German Weihnachtsmรคrkte and former Mรผnchener restauranteur surely also hit hard by the pandemic and whom now resides in Dubai, the announcement that the emirate plans to host a version of Oktoberfest has drawn ire and confusion from the annual party’s venue city. Mirroring its namesake to an extent with beer tents, food concessions and carnival rides, the proposal calls for it being a pavilion of the World Expo and to last for six months rather than the customary two weeks in September. Last year’s festivities were cancelled due to corona, and though uncertainly it seems as if the coming autumn celebrations may also have to be postponed.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

colin’s bear revisited

Andy Baio at Waxy noticed a viral resurgence of an animated dance moves of a thirteen-year-old short clip, rediscovered and remixed though sadly without any deference to the creator—which Baio seeks to remedy the record by recontextualising and exploring the evolution of the meme that untethered certainly carries the sentiment idk—ive never seen the show its from. Whatever iteration you prefer, you can make your own joyful celebration of International Dance Day, held annually of this day, marking the birthday (1727) of Jean-Georges Noverre, creator of modern ballet.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

saint zita

Also known by her unofficial cult following in England as Sitha by domestics there, Zita of Lucca (†1227) whose feast is celebrated today was servant girl to a cruel household that beat and berated her incessantly despite working hard and without stint and her charity and even respect for the family she worked for.

Zita’s perseverance through faith in the face of challenges gradually turned the her family and others in the circle towards charity and piety and ultimately garnered a Cinderella-like reputation with angelic host helping her with the chores. In remembrance of Zita feeding the numerous poor people of the city with her meagre ratio of bread alone, the people of Lucca bake Zita Loaves on this day and she is venerated as the patron of maids, butlers and wait-staff and sought for intercession in recovering lost keys and like household objects.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

maughold

Venerated on this day in the Roman Catholic Church (31 July on the Anglican calendar), the late fifth century saint also known as Mawgan or Macc Cuill is the patron saint of the Isle of Man, was an Irish princeling of sorts and leader of a band of marauding freebooters who frequently derided Patrick and Brigid and their followers as fools and simpletons. According to one local legend, wanting to expose Patrick as a charlatan, Maughold presented a living man in a shroud and presented him to saint to revive and restore to life, only to find out that their decoy had in fact died in the interim. Patrick later resurrected him, and impressed and repentant, Maughold followed the advice to leave his career of piracy and to make amends for his past behaviour by committing himself to the mercy of the elements in a wicker boat set out to sea. The boat drifted to the Isle of Man, coming to rest in the pictured coastal headland, and a Christian community already established by Patrick’s disciples and was eventually acclaimed bishop.

robigalia

One of a number of Roman celebrated during this time of year to ensure a good growing season and bountiful harvest, the feast of the for the god Robigus was held on this day in the agricultural outskirts of the city.
The god, which was designated as the divine representation of fungal blight or rust needed to be propitiated in order to ensure that the crops wouldn’t spoil in the fields. Understood as a separate, corrupt manifestation of the same infestation that could be harnessed for fermentation, the games held at this time with their attendant feasts (see also) were also marked by rather dark sacrifices that expressed their anxieties over crop failure—especially for one this late in the growing seasons that wouldn’t be easy to recover from. Whereas animal sacrifice generally was reserved for livestock that was part of the Roman diet and was shared in a communal meal, Robigalia rather gruesomely demanded a dog with a red coat—that matched the rust disease—as form of homeopathic magic.
Other observations included a celebration of—for whatever reason—of male sex-workers, professional female prostitution having had their own honours in the previous days, specifically on Vinalia urbana, the grape harvest on 23 April. Though without the cruel bits, thankfully—or the fun bits either, I suppose, the holiday is preserved in Western Christianity with the same day of prayer and fasting known as Rogation (from the Latin to beseech—to ask God for protection from calamity) and was done to cleanse the body and mind in anticipation of the Ascension and farmers often had priests bless their crops, often holding mass and processionals in the fields.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

godeberthe de noyon

Heiress to a considerable fortune in Amiens and with a solid educational background that eschewed mundane, temporal comforts and the requisite of a strategic marriage to retain a modicum of soft power, Godebertha (*640 - †700, her Gothic name meaning fervor) was displeased when she was when she was presented at the king’s court to be wed to a suitor of appriproate rank and standing. Sensing this reluctance, Saint Eligius put his episcopal ring on her finger, symbolising Godebertha’s betrothal to Christ. The king, impressed with her faith and conduct, gave her an endowment and permission to found a small abbey. Credited for saving the village numerous times from fires and outbreaks of cholera and typhoid fever through miraculous intercession both during her life and posthumously, Godeberthe is invoked against drought, plagues and epidemics and is venerated on this day on the occasion of her death after a long life of sanctity and solitude.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

an elaborate hoax

The fictive archipelago shaped like a semi-colon and full of puns related to printing and fonts, the Guardian featured a seven-page supplement (see also) celebrating a decade of independence for the nation of San Serriffe, discussing the island’s history, economy and tourism with in-depth articles. Originally it was to be positioned in the Atlantic neighbouring Tenerife but a tragic airline disaster a few days prior prompted the newspaper’s editorial board to move it to the Indian Ocean, near the Seychelles. In an era before desktop publishing and the wide adoption of home computers, the terminology of typefaces was specialists’ jargon and most readers would have missed the jokes.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

6x6

gambrinus/ninkasi: five-thousand-year old industrial scale brewery in Egypt makes archaeologist rethink the history of beer, previously believed only to be made on a large scale with Christian monasteries  

star-fiend: one member of the pool of “human computers” realised that there were galaxies beyond our own by studying depth of field on photographic plates with a magnifying glass rather than a telescope  

pod squad: whales collaborated and learned to outsmart their human hunters in the nineteenth century—via Kottke, blogging for twenty-three years now 

dyi: join Van Neistat, The Spirited Man, for some fantasy fixing  

maslenitsa: celebrating Shrovetide ahead of Orthodox Lent  

vier-farben-satz: Colorbrewer generates ideal schemes for maps and data visualisations

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

h-hour

Selected as a target due to its status as a regional transportation hub and medieval town centre that made it especially vulnerable to fire-bombing and with relative destruction surpassing the raid on Dresden a month prior, commenced by the same Royal Airforce Bomber bomber group, the city of Wรผrzburg (previously, see also) was on this day in 1945 in the course of twenty minutes destroyed, with only a little more than a tenth of the historic buildings remaining. Over five-thousand individuals perished. After the war and the city’s occupation by American forces (which continued until 2008), in the ensuing decades, Wรผrzburg was rebuilt as true to the original as possible.

Monday, 15 March 2021

holy lance

Prior to the reforms of 1969 to the Calendar of Saints, a Roman soldier and first convert to Christianity was venerated on this day, since observed on 15 October. The soldier is anonymous in the Gospels and started out more as a Promethean figure, confined to a cave where a lion would maul him nightly only to have his body restored in the morning and condemned to this fate until the end of time for having stabbed Jesus on the Cross, and was given the name Longinius in the apocraphal testament of Nicodemus, Latinising ฮปฯŒฮณฯ‡ฮท lonche, the Greek for lance—thus the Lance of Lance (see previously). The story is further developed in the legendarium of the Holy Grail and is considered to have made the fifth of the Holy Wounds of the stigmata.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

mario day

Chosen for the date’s similar appearance to the video game character’s name (see also) when formatted Mar. 10, the celebration has been officially observed by Nintendo since 2016 with tournaments and other Super Mario Brothers related events drawing from the expansive canon and fandom of the Mushroom Kingdom (ใ‚ญใƒŽใ‚ณ็Ž‹ๅ›ฝ, Kinoko ลŒkoku) franchise. 

 

Monday, 22 February 2021

cathedra petri

Gifted to Pope John VIII in 875 by Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Bald (Karl der Kahle), the simple wooden stool that tradition claims was the pontifical throne of Saint Peter as Bishop of Rome and encased in a magnificent reliquary by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the mid seventeenth century. The chair—which research suggests only dates to the seventh century—has metal loops, suggesting it was used as a sedia gestatoria (see also)—is venerated on this day with a feast celebrating the relic as a synecdoche (ฯƒฯ…ฮฝฮตฮบฮดฮฟฯ‡ฮฎ, simultaneous understanding) to reflect on the importance of episcopal office, locally and globally.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

ferฤlia

Marking the end of a nine-day festival honouring familial ancestors called Parentalia (dies parentales, ancestral days), as historian and poet Ovid records in his book on Fasti, Romans across the Empire were prohibited in worship of the gods and instead were to visit the tombs of their departed and lay wreaths and leave offers of violets, salt and wine-soaked bread. More elaborate votives were permitted but this was sufficient to appease the spirits and the practice was strictly enforced, lest Rome return to a time when Ferฤlia was neglected and restless ghosts haunted the streets. As with most Roman holidays, observance was mostly a domestic, private affair and what public rites were held are an obscured and confused accounting, the only surviving description involving a drunk woman holding seven black beans (see also) in her mouth and lighting incense over the grave of a mouse, and sewing shut the mouth of a fish—then proclaiming, “Hostiles linguas inimicaque uinximus ora,” I have gagged spiteful tongues and muzzled unfriendly mouths.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

cult of personality

Along with the birthday of his father, founder of the nation of North Korea, this Day of the Shining Star (๊ด‘๋ช…์„ฑ) falling on the anniversary of the birth of its second leader Kim Jong-il, 16 February, 31 Juche, according to party lore, is among the most important public holidays, codified since his 2012 death. While Kim was likely born in Siberia during his father’s exile for inciting an uprising, the foundational mythos places Kim’s birth at a secret guerrilla camp (run by Kim Il-sung) on the slopes of Mount Paektu, a place in antiquity considered holy and the origin of the Korea people, his nativity heralded by a shooting star. With celebrations spanning two days including mass gymnastics, fireworks and military demonstrations, many couples also choose this day to marry. Like a Communist version of Lent, the two-month gap between the birthday of the founder (see above) and second leader is known as Loyalty Festival Period and is interspersed with spontaneous acts of devotion and festivities throughout.

Monday, 1 February 2021

imbolc

Traditionally celebrated as one of the four Celtic, Gaelic seasonal festivals and marking in the Northern Hemisphere the beginning of Spring—complete spring-cleaning, well-dressing with weather divination and forecasting to watch for serpents or badgers to emerge from their dens, directly informing Groundhog Day customs. Displaced and ensconced with the Christianisation of the ancient lands were these rituals emerged, Saint Brigid of Kildare, the co-patron of Ireland, is regarded as a syncretion of the goddess of the same name associated with the light half of the year, smithing, healing, poetry and fertility, attributes which are reflected in the saint’s patronage—plus the state of Florida.