St Anthony’s Day in Padua
by Martina on Jun 1, 2017
Still nowadays, a day symbolizing the harmony between faith and history
St. Anthony’s Day is an annual celebration that commemorates the Saint’s death on June 13th.
St. Anthony was born Fernando Martins in Lisbon, Portugal, from a Christian family, which is believed to be the foundation of his faith. The genesis of his theological and religious education started at 15 years of age when he joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, moving two years later to the monastery of Santa Crux in Coimbra, where he attained a superb knowledge of theology and Latin.
Ferdinand became a priest in Coimbra in 1220 and his desire to witness, motivated by the martyrdom of five Franciscan missionaries in Morocco, led him to join the Franciscan order. It is at this point that he took the name “Anthony”. Unfortunately, he got sick on arriving in Morocco and had to go back home in Portugal to receive medical assistance, but the sail veered and docked in Sicily, Italy. He later moved to Padua where he would have spent the rest of his life. St. Anthony is most remembered for his compelling and eloquent preachings.
St. Anthony of Padua is also popularly referred to as patron saint of stolen and lost things. Indeed, a story is given that he once had a valuable psalter which he loved and a novice took it off. Motivated by faith and love for his psalter, he prayed hard that it could be found. It is said that the apparition of the saint chased the novice, and then he returned the Psalter.
Nowadays, the religious procession, that takes place on the feast day, parades the statue of St. Anthony through the streets and lanes where residents toss broom blossoms and rose petals on the passing parade from above.
Furthermore, some of the traditions connected to this day are:
- Devotees pray him hoping to recover whatever they’ve lost;
- Blessing of the Lilies;
- Giving out “St. Anthony’s bread”;
- Decorating with pots of basil.