St Blaise is the patron saint of throat infections and for this reason alone, I thought it was worth attending his feast in Dubrovnik. I’ve suffered from a chronic cough most of my life and on bad days it sounds like I’ve smoked 1000 cigarettes a day. Doctors don’t know why.
St Blaise is the patron saint of Dubrovnik and on the 3rd of February, his festival day, there is a throat blessing ceremony at the Church of St Blaise. Several years ago, I got in that queue.
Dubrovnik weather in February is much like London, ie changeable – I think that’s the polite way to put it. The Mediterranean-influenced food and the red-tiled rooftops are a cheerful offset. And the festival processions, which start the day before on Candle Mass, are a wonderful celebration of reds and golds.
Neighbouring villagers come in their traditional costumes, lining the main street with their banners while the church bells chime and the bands strike up. The parade files up to the church for a flag waving ceremony. Look out for the bishop and the men bearing Jesus’ loin cloth in a casket. And into the church for the throat-blessing.
Did my throat improve after that? It’s difficult to say. I had a horrendously tickly cough on that long weekend, which found little relief from drugs or the church blessing. And since Dubrovnik, I’ve had a couple of extremely bad bouts which drove me to the verge of mind-altering medication. But the periods of calm are long and good and I feel like a normal non-afflicted human being.
~ Spotted Cow
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