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Saint Andrew, whose feast day is the 30th of November, is the patron saint of Scotland, Greece and Russia. There are a number of traditions that surrounding his feast day as well in Poland. He was was a fisherman and many of the traditions that souround the day seem to be about “catching” a husband.
Even though St. Andrew was one of the Apostles of Christ little is known about him while he lived and actually few facts seem to surround him after his death. From some sources I found, he was the first Apostle of Christ even though his brother was Peter is much better known. While Andrew was spreading the faith in Greece, he was put to death by crucifixion in Patras. This is where the St. Andres cross comes from that is the basis of the Scotish flag.
When his remains where to be transferred to Constantanopl a priest, later called St. Rule, was said to have a dream saying he should to take the remains to the ends of the earth. St. Rule broke into the tomb and took them east eventually the ship he was on wrecked on the east coast Scotland. This was as far as he got, there by getting to “the end of the earth”.
The history of Scotland seems to be intertwined with St. Andrew with Edward the Bruce and William Wallace (the main character of Bravehart was modeled after) both invoked his name. It was not untill very recently that on the Scotland has been allowed to fly the Scotish flag on their national holiday which is St. Andrew’s day.
I was not able to find multiple sources to back up what the different traditions that women could use to suggest their future husbands but some of them are: to throw a shoe over her shoulder and if the toe points to the door then they would be married in the next year, peel an apple and throw it on the floor and if it curled into a letter that give an idea who they would marry and the night before they should listen to bogs barking as this pointed to where their future husband would come from.
Thought I would really have liked to have more information on the independence of Albania but have not taken enough time to look it up. The nation was part of the Ottoman Empire for many years and during their collapse, the Albanians took the opportunity to establish their independence on November 28th of 1912.
US Embassy: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/al.html
In the Eastern Orthodoxy Stylianos was born to a poor family and became a hermit at a young age. Unlike what we think of when we think hermit, Stylianos did not keep completely to himself, rather ventured out to the nearby villages. It is said that one evening the Holy Spirit came to him and the next day he layed hands on a sick child who recovered immediately. From this his notoriety spread and many came to him to be healed, but not just of physical ailments. Parents would bring there children to him to give them spiritual guidance. This over time lead to children being left with him for long periods, causing writers of the Eastern Orthodox to say he had started the first “Day Care”.
Also attributed to Saint Stylianos was the miracle of causing a barren women to become fertile again. A women who helped in his work with children but could not have one herself became pregnant. This caused her husband to tell this tale to others, barren women would then come to him to be cured as well.
Even though he was born into poverty and was a hermit, he was best known (other then his work with children) for his ever present smile. I found two references to the only time he did not smile was when a someone of little face would try and discredit him then a scowl would cross his face. Even when he was buried it was said he still had a smile on his face.
In my opinion he seems like very good inspiration for the Santa Clause of Christmas. I do know there is a St Nicolas and have to reread what has been said about him, but a man who lived to be very old, was a hermit, had many small children around him (see this as more the elfs at the North Pole), was known to be happy all the time and cared for children. I am sure I am not the first to draw these comparisons but having done little research do not have any to point to.
In 1975 on November 25th, the area known as Dutch Guyana was officially granted it’s independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It had been a colony of the Netherlands since the 1600. Suriname is one of the only four countries where Spanish is not the official language and it is also the only one that is surrounded by countries that are not Spanish speaking.
Unfortunately, like many counties in South America, Suriname has had it’s share of chaos after but seems to be much more stabilized now. The former dictator believed to be responsible for the deaths of many who opposed the government during his rule is standing trail in the country.
As a side note, I remember while in school studying geography, now I was not the greatest at this subject but do remember learning about Dutch Guyana. Now I am not that old, I could not have learned about the the nation till after 1976 so it just goes to show that education early needs to keep up with the state of the world, how else are we to understand and relate to others around the world if we do not even know what countries populate the world.
U.S. Embassy: http://www.surinameembassy.org/
U.N. Mission: http://www.un.int/wcm/content/site/suriname/cache/offonce/pid/2879;jsessionid=29C6C44ED6E5A45EE7478678C
This is just a quick note for today as I have not updated this for an awfully long time and want to write a quick administrative note as well.
Through out the world many countries set aside a day to celebrate and/or recognize teachers. Considering the intent of this blog, to facilitate the understanding between peoples of all different nations and cultures I felt this would be an appropriate holiday to relaunch my site.
I was unable to find the reason why the 24th of November was chosen as the date to celebrate this but did find the it was instituted by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, considered the Prime Teacher of Turkey. He was the founder of modern Turkey and is much loved within the country.
Not long ago I was listening to an NPR show about travel that had an episode on traveling within Turkey and the subject of Atatürk came up, to which the person being interviewed said that ever Turkish person loved him and even related that a law had been passed saying one could not insult him. The interviewer asked if this was not taking away some freedom of speech to which she replied that no one would want to insult him, there where no people that did not like him, he had no enemies. I do hope that this is true from the little I have had a chance to read he seemed like a very good person who wanted the best for his people and understood the children where the future hence the choosing of a Teacher’s Day.
Editor’s Note: It has been so long since I have posted I did not realize that my last holiday also involved Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, so for more information please see previous post as well.
I am in the process of getting this blog and the podcast back up and running. I have been a little worried that I was not able to do it the justice that it deserved but have since decided that I will do the best I can as that is all I can do and this topic I feel deserves that. I am trying to arrange some interviews with people for my podcast so that will be more interesting and hope to have a new one up soon.