Tonight is the 10th of August, and the night of Saint Lawrence.
San Lorenzo was martyred on the 10th August, 258AD in Rome. The Roman Empire had demanded that he turn over the riches of the church, so he asked for a few days in which to gather them all. What he actually did was distribute as much of the wealth to the poor and then when ordered to give up the treasures, he presented the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering, announcing these as the true treasures of the church. Of course, the message was lost on the Romans, and in their usual gruesome fashion, a huge gridiron was built with hot coals underneath and San Lorenzo was martyred by being grilled alive.
San Lorenzo, reportedly, found humour in this Roman torture method, and after enduring the pain for a while exclaimed:
“Questa parte è cotta, volta e mangia”
This side is done, turn me over and eat
Naturally making him the patron saint of chefs and comedians (as well as archivists and librarians since he also worked to hide and protect the documents of the church).
San Lorenzo made a brief appearance on Fargo, where when Stavros was asked about the stained glass window of Saint Lawrence in his office, he replied that San Lorenzo was the patron saint of “hard asses”!
Therefore, on the night of San Lorenzo, look to the sky and try to spot some stelle cadenti – shooting stars. Here’s the science bit, they can be seen near the constellation of Perseus, as the remains of the comet Swift-Tuttle fall during the Perseid Meteor Shower which reaches its peak in mid August. The phenomenon actually occurs for a few days, from around the 9th August to the 12th, so if you can’t make your way to a secluded beach or to the countryside tonight, try another day, I’m sure San Lorenzo wouldn’t mind. According to a text from the mother of one of my friends – yes, Italian mothers text you to remind you to look to the skies and make a wish ❤️ – this year, 2016, there should be more shooting stars visible than in previous years.
One thing I’ve learned this year is that Italians are steeped in tradition and ritual, and are *hopeless* romantics. I think this is a beautiful tradition and spent the evening on the beach listening to lucio , trying to catch a falling star. They’re known as le lacrime di San Lorenzo – the tears of San Lorenzo, shed as he was martyred. These celestial drops of pain are suspended eternally in heaven but fall to Earth on the anniversary of his death to create a magical atmosphere full of hope and bring luck to those who care to sit and watch for them.
Stella, mia bella Stella, desidero che…
Star, my pretty Star, I wish…
I won’t ask you what you wish for, but I hope that le lacrime di San Lorenzo help to grant you all of what your heart desires.