Have you heard of St. Catherine’s Day?
I recently learned about St. Catherine’s Day and a particular way of celebrating in France. I would encourage you to flip the tradition and have a little fun with it.
St. Catherine was a princess and scholar in the early 4th century. She became a Christian and denounced the pagan emperor Maxentius. He then burned 50 of her fellow converts to death. She refused redemption through a royal marriage and, once in prison, proceeded to convert the emperor’s wife and 200 of his soldiers.
A powerful woman!
In France, St. Catherine’s Day…well, let me just include this fun excerpt from Wikipedia:
On St. Catherine’s Day, it is customary for unmarried women to pray for husbands, and to honour women who’ve reached 25 years of age but haven’t married—called “Catherinettes” in France. Catherinettes send postcards to each other, and friends of the Catherinettes make hats for them—traditionally using the colours yellow (faith) and green (wisdom), often outrageous—and crown them for the day. Pilgrimage is made to St. Catherine’s statue, and she is asked to intercede in finding husbands for the unmarried lest they “don St. Catherine’s bonnet” and become spinsters. The Catherinettes are supposed to wear the hat all day long, and they are usually feted with a meal among friends. Because of this hat-wearing custom, French milliners have big parades to show off their wares on this day.
The French say that before a girl reaches 25, she prays: “Lord, give me a well-situated husband. Let him be gentle, rich, generous, and pleasant!” After 25, she prays: “Lord, one who’s bearable, or who can at least pass as bearable in the world!” And when she’s pushing 30: “Send whatever you want, Lord; I’ll take it!”
You can see we’re going to have fun with this, right?
St. Catherine’s Day is traditionally November 25th, which either makes it a convenient excuse to have another holiday party or a reason to pick your own date.
Build your own St. Catherine’s Day. Gather your friends, build some crazy hats – or go hat shopping! – tell crazy dating stories, and celebrate your single lives.
Write letters to your single friends and tell them how fabulous they are. Reach out to the younger women in your life – daughters, nieces, cousins, etc. – and share this fun French tradition (with a twist).
Happy St. Catherine’s Day!