Wednesday, 24 December 2008

23.12.08 Tuesday – Away in a manger

I think that Madame likes Christmas. I mentioned before that she has decorated the square panes of glass in her patio doors with Christmassy type images. I had been going to tell her that really “leoN xueyoJ” should be facing the other way, so that people loitering on her terrace get the message, but I have not done so.
She wants to know if I have any CD’s with English Choirs singing Christmas carols.
I take her up to my flat whilst I search through my music CD’s and cassettes. She also likes Russian choirs singing carols. Unfortunately I have neither category. She asks me to see if I can obtain some for her, if I remember. Obviously it is too late for this year. I will tie a knot in something to remind myself.
She is expecting a lot of people for Christmas and / or New Year for food.
I suspect that the huge potted palm will have to be put back outside again to make some room..
Special menus have been appearing in the press for St Sylvestre meals. These seem to range from 55 to 75 euros per head.
I bought a French pocket diary yesterday and I now know that as well as being Restauration de la Republique Day it is St Sylvestre’s day too.

In France the New Year’s Eve celebration dates back to Roman times. New Year’s Eve is also called the Saint Sylvester’s Eve. The Roman tradition of New Year’s Eve entailed eating as much food as possible until the New Year arrived. The more you ate, the more prosperous you would be in the coming year.
So now you know!
!. ST. (POPE) SYLVESTER I (c. 270 - 335 A.D.)
St. Sylvester I from whom the well in Old Street takes its name was Bishop of Rome in 313 A.D. History best remembers St. Sylvester through his connection with Constantine the Great (C. 280 - 337 A.D.). Constantine, suffering from leprosy, had a dream in which St. Peter and St. Paul advised him to visit Sylvester I, who restored him to full health. It became clear to Constantine that a faith, which could perform such miracles, was worth cultivating and in 313 A.D. he issued the Edict of Milen, proclaiming total freedom of religion for all. Prior to this Constantine had been attached to Judaism and Sylvester suggested to him that the whole question of Religious Faith should be disputed before a collective audience of Jews and Christians the topics for discussion included Paganism, God, Christ and the Ten Commandments. A leading Rabbi by the name of Zamberi volunteered to perform a miracle, as proof of his faith and approaching an ox, whispered the name Jehovah in the animals ear, whereby the beast dropped dead. Legend has it that Sylvester retaliated by pronouncing the name Christ, which restored the ox to life. Thus was Constantine re-affirmed in his new faith - A 13th Cen. wall painting in the Church of San Silvestro in Tivoli, near Rome pictures this "conversion" scene in minute detail.
St. Sylvester I is also reputed to have slain a dragon (more likely a crocodile), not by the sword as St. George is often depicted, but by the power of the name of Christ. To overcome a dragon was little more than an allegorical assertion of sainthood.The feast day of St. (Pope) Sylvester 1 is celebrated on December 31st.
Taken from

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