Saint Anthony of Padua

Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) is one of the most popular Catholic saints. He was the Portuguese priest and member of the Franciscan order. He is the patron saint of Brazil, Portugal, pregnant women, elderly people, horses etc. He is usually portrayed as young man holding baby Jesus. He wears brown Franciscan robes. In most cases Saint Anthony also holds some white lilies. His feast day is on the 13th of June. The day before it is Brazilian Valentine's Day.

Saint Anthony of Padua
Saint Anthony of Padua

All over the world there are numerous traditions and beliefs dedicated to Saint Anthony. It is believed that he can help in finding of lost objects. Saint Anthony travelled a lot. Many people pray to him to keep them safe on their journeys. That is why some sailors keep the statue of the saint on the mast of their ship.

Among single people he is sometimes known as the matchmaker. On the evening of his feast day a woman should fill her mouth with water. She must not swallow it until she hears the name of the man she is going to marry.

The next rite is slightly more complicated. You have to fill a little bowl with water. Write down names of guys you like on pieces of paper. Roll up each piece and put it in the bowl. Place the bowl under your bed. In the morning check the bowl. The name written on the paper which gets opened will be your ideal match.

For the next tradition popular in Sicily you will need a blessed Saint Anthony medal and a red ribbon. Women or men then write the preferred character qualities of the future partner. The medal is put on the paper. Finally everything is tied with a piece of red ribbon. On the saint's feast day tiny package is hidden in the church. The person should then pray the novena to Saint Anthony. On each of nine days she or he should light a small white candle.

Let's continue with one rather bizarre tradition. According to it a woman has to bury or just place the saint's statue upside down and that way blackmail the saint to tell her who is going to be her future husband.

The Portuguese capital Lisbon celebrates its patron saint in the night between the 12th and 13th of June. Sardines prepared in every possible way are the delicacy of the festival. Beautiful bonfires can be seen everywhere. According to locals the hottest parties are in the Alfma district.

Do not miss the big parade known as the “Marchas Popolares” which is held in the Avenue Liberdade. Parade includes people in colourful clothes, different bands and floats. There are convertible cars with many woman wearing bridal gowns. They are called “brides of Saint Anthony”. Also on the same day couples of the lower income can get married for free in the City Hall.

The feast of Saint Anthony of Padua is the most important event in the life of Anacapri, Italy. There are two statues of the saint in this town. One of them is in the parish church of Saint Sofia. There is also a half-bust which is carried in the procession held in the afternoon of the 12th of June.

During whole route there are small beautifully decorated altars. People living in houses along the route prepare trays full of flowers called Guantiere. Flowers are thrown on the procession. The statue is taken to the crossing in the centre of the town. It is placed on the special altar. It stays there for some two weeks.

Like so many feasts dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua the procession in Anacapri includes the Bread of Saint Anthony. These small bread rolls are given by kids in special clothes. The tradition has its origin in the 13th century Padua. In 1263 a boy drowned in the river Brenta. His mother prayed Saint Anthony for her son to stay alive. She promised to give to the poor the amount of wheat equal to the weight of her son. Her prayer was answered.