Today has been a local holiday in Marta, as February 3rd is the feast day for one of their Patron Saints, San Biagio in Italian. I know very little about Saint Blaise as he is known in English, apart from the information there is to be found on Wikipedia in English or Italian.
Saint Biagio was born in the 3rd century AD in Armenia, where he eventually became a physician and Bishop of Sebastea, Armenia, (modern day Sivas, Turkey). He blessed throats and effected many miracles, often depicted using crossed candles. The most common story that was explained to us this morning is the saving of a child’s life, by getting him to eat bread after fish bones were stuck in the child’s throat. Of course this is nowadays a well known way of clearing fish bones lodged in the throat, but now you know where the idea originates from.
This morning in Marta there was a mass held in his honour, which the locals tell us is a very important service for the blessing of throats, as it is believed he will intercede in the case of throat illnesses. After mass the service continues with a procession through the streets of Marta with a hymn and prayers in his honour throughout the parade.
Afterwards the festa atmosphere continues with locals enjoying a passegiata and perusing the usual stalls that appear on such occasions.
Piazza Umberto Marta
The bells ringing as Mass ends.
Fur coats out in force in the Commune of Marta this morning, it was bitterly cold.
I have chosen a small selection of photos to share with you here, the full set can viewed at Flickr.com in my album entitled
Festa Day for San Biagio, clicking on the link will take you directly there.