Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20: "Ah! It is St. Agnes' Eve — " (Vol. 41, pp. 883-893)

Supposedly, on this day, virgins were to perform solemn ceremonies to "have visions of delights and soft adorings from their loves." Or, at least that's how John Keats would have it in his poem, "Eve of St. Agnes."

St. Agnes, the patron saint of virgins, died a martyr in fourth century Rome. Keats based his poem on the superstition linked to St. Agnes — that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rites on the eve of her feast day on Jan. 21. The virginal lass had to go to bed without any supper, undress herself and lie completely naked on her bed with her hands under the pillow and looking up to the heavens. Only then would Mr. Right appear in her dream, kiss her and feast with her.

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