San Biagio - St. Blaise
Along the way to the city Blaise performed a miracle. A woman came to him through the crowd with her baby child who was dying of suffocation for a fish bone in his throat. The Saint placed his hands on the child in prayer, and the poor baby was suddenly healed. After a period in prison, Blaise was thrown into a lake, but he came out of it. So the judge ordered to torture and kill him. Before he died, seven women were killed because they were collecting the precious blood drops of the saint.
Since 1863 another town took the name of Monte San Biagio, Monticello (in province of Latina) placed on the South-Western side of Monte Calvo. Several other places in our country are entitled to him: San Biagio della Cima (Imperia), San Biagio di Callalta (Treviso), San Biagio Platani (Agrigento), San Biagio Saracinisco (Frosinone) and San Biase (Chieti). There is a statue of the Saint also on a spire of the Duomo of Milan, the city where in the past the Christmas panettone was never eaten completely, always reserving a part for our saint's feast. (and the "Saint Blaise panettone", which is left during the Christmas holidays, is still sold in Milan). But we find places taking the name of the Saint also in France, in Spain in Switzerland and the Americas.
St Blaise in Abruzzo
In 1536, the class of the wool workers joined in a confraternity, built a big church whose façade and wooden side doors can still be seen today; and exactly in the mid-16th century the tradition of the Panicelle took origin. On 31 January the members of the confraternity meet in what is called San Blaise's house and start working the flour which will serve to make the holy loaves, that is the Panicelle.
The process is slow and detailed, a true ritual that involves all the members of the confraternity and their families. Once the dough is made, they wrap it in wool cloths, and leave to rest up to complete rising. At the end of this operation the women proceed to give form to the Panicelle, placing four cords of pasta lined together in the size and form of a blessing hand.
On the panicelle San Blaise's mark is impressed, then they are taken to the ovens by the girls of the place: a true night procession. On 3rd February, at last, on the festivity of the Patron Saint, the panicelle are given to the faithful that eat them in devotion to San Blaise; a part is kept for the children, to protect them from sore throat.
San Blaise is also celebrated in Bussi, Fontecchio, Canzano e Colledimezzo.
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