Saturday, July 14, 2007

St Fortunatus would just LOVE this....

(If this is the very first medieval posting you are reading, please do not read on, but go to the posting before this one, as this is a two part series in sequence...)

Meet my St Forunatus pig...(that is my pet name for this fellow) He had me facinated throughout most of the day as we passed back and forth ("Not ANOTHER photo of it?!" my dh kept saying..) and so I took a few photos of him slowly being roasted in preparation for a feast that night amongst the re-enactors living the medieval life down to the last pig's bristle in the tooth, honey mead in the goblet and deer's skin as a cosy night coverlet...

So why exactly, do I call it "my St Forunatus pig?"

Well firstly I'll give you a link to this saint's life.

And secondly, my Cooking with the Saints book (a great book on liturgical eating in the home) says the traditional food for his feast (14th December) is a suckling pig and the appealing picture in the cook book has the little roasted pig relaxing on a platter with two cherry tomatoes in his eyes and an apple in his, I'm not joking and yes, quite a sight!!

Here we are 9.30am and my little pig looks juicy and succulent, sizzling away in the sunlight...but he has many hours to go, the knight informs me he will ready in time for their private feasting at 6pm that night..."hmmmmm, no tidbits for me, we will be chanting over at the chapel...and we are definately not singing for our suppers!"

Afternoon rolls around and he's still going, "I wonder what is in the pots?" Never got round to asking them...

Our final glance, we are almost finished for the day and heading over to the chapel, he looks done and I sure hope they enjoyed him.

Makes me think of a childhood memory, way, way back. Celebrating an aunties birthday and they had a pig on a was pretty facinating to me then and have never forgotten that fabulous night. Nothing like a spit to make the celebration extra festive.

I said to dh, "Can we cook a pig for St Fortunatus' feast?"

Well, all I will say is that we don't share the same love for little pigs on spits, no matter WHO it is in honor of....

"I wonder what they hope to cook here for the evening? Sure looks authentic..."

As we head over to the chapel there are little fires, spits, roasts and smoke everywhere, such a medieval atmosphere. I really do not want to leave, the fun is only just beginning....

One of the children ran up and said, "Their cooking a pair of coneys!"

"Where have I heard that expression before?" (Just a bit of the LOTR fan coming out in me..)

We're backtracking a bit now into the day to the jousting, always one of the highlights of the festival but we turned up late and I find myself behind these bars and peeping around and over heads...

Look at this fellow, they like to create a formidable sight (to their fellow jousters) and a dashing look, (to the fair damsels and ladies.)

I mean, just look at the black 'love heart' shaped is sure to send a fluttering of silken hankies being thrown his way.

I think this jouster's get up looks the fanciest, lucky to get this shot, that is a monk's head in front of me nearly obscuring my view.


This fellow got hit in the head and his 'squire' is trying to dislodge a piece of his opponent's lance from his visor...certainly a dangerous sport!!!

That draws to mind some story from long ago about a saint that predicted the death of a king during jousting. (In punishment for his sins?) The king laughed because his armour was so protective but he got hit in the visor and pierced him through the eye and died days later....does anyone know what I am talking about? I just can't quite place the to know the full facts again.

(Jackie has given the correct story on this, in the 'comments section' - thank you Jackie!)

Here is my medieval 'fighting' monk. (He assures me they had them and that he is one..)

And here is my St George-loving 4 year old who thinks he has met the saint of his dreams!!!!

We are getting ready to process in for our afternoon recital. This year it was Marian chants, it was really lovely - I LOVE Marian chants!!!

Here we go, ds carrying the processional cross and my two dd's with little bells in hand. We are just about to sing, "Christus Vincit" as we process into the chapel.

So are you wondering if I am going to mention the connection between roasted pigs and chanting? (well I have to admit, it is a very obscure connection...)

When I was reading about the life of St Fortunatus in whom the roast pig is eaten in his honor, I discovered that he had composed some of my very favourite chants!!!! I cannot believe this, I've only discovered it while writing these posts!

I'll quote from the link I had given at the beginning of this post:

"The best of his talents were stimulated by the arrival at Poitiers in 569 of relics of the True Cross, sent by the Emperor Justin II, which was the occasion for his fine hymn ‘Vexilla regis prodeunt’ (‘The royal banners forward go’), used in the liturgy of Passiontide and especially Good Friday. At about the same time he composed ‘Pange lingua gloriosi’ (‘Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle’), likewise for Passiontide and ‘Salve festa dies’ for Easter. These are all generally reckoned to be among the finest examples of Christian hymnody, combining as they do classical skill and Christian religious sentiment to a high degree."

Vexilla Regis Prodeuent a simply rousing and powerful chant that I am told would often be chanted when going into battle as well as for liturgical feasts.

And Salve Festa Dies (click to hear the beautiful tune of the refrain.)

Here is the translation of it:

"Hail, festal day, venerable of all ages. By which God conquers hell and holds the stars."

This is also one of my favourites, it is an Easter chant and it certainly has that lovely, joyfulness that all Easter chants/hymns have!

Thank you St Fortunatus!

And finally, here we are, by candlelight chanting the Requiem chants (it was the 7.7.07 and my father's 7th anniversary of his death, I was so pleased to chant them in his memory) and finishing with compline.

Compline is always finished with Salve Regina. And as a lovely old Irish monk once told our choir master, "It is a lovely thing to have, " (In his Irish brogue) '..Virgo Maria' as the last parting words on your lips each night." (as the monastic silence continues then till the next morning) ...and never a truer word said!


stef said...

Oh, thank you so much for sharing, Anne. Everything is beautiful especially that last picture -- I wish our medieval reenactments here had this too! Saying special prayers for your dad.

jackie said...

Anne, I think you are thinking of Nostradamus who predicted the death of Henry II:

"The young lion will overcome the older one,
On the field of combat in a single battle;
He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage,
Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death."

I have no idea how to do a link, so I'm copying and pasting here!

In June 1559, Henry II ignored all warnings that Nostradamus gave him and participated in a jousting tournament against the Comte de Montgomery. Both men used shields embossed with lions. Montgomery was six years younger than Henry. A tournament is a field of ritual single combat.

During the final bout, Montgomery failed to lower his lance in time. It shattered, sending a large splinter through the king's gilded visor (golden cage). Along with minor punctures in the face and throat, there were two mortal wounds. One splinter destroyed the king's eye; the other impaled his temple just behind the eye. Both penetrated his brain. Henry lingered for ten agonizing days before dying a cruel death.

Hope this answers your question!

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Thank you Jackie!!! That is it! Well Nostradmus is not a saint, I was a bit off kilter there - but that is definatley the same story - well I have to say that I've seen first hand how easy a prediction like that can come about!!

Alice Gunther said...

Annie, these posts of your are just incredible! Beautiful, informative, and truly impressive in every way. You make me wish to be in Australia right along side you.

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Thank you Stef, for remembering my father in prayer!

Alice, I can't begin to tell you, how much I'd love that!!!

Leonie said...

Goreous pics - and very interesting comment re the Salve Regina. I love that when sung in prayers - Fr and Br here have been singing that recently after weekday masses. Very nice.