St. Bartholomew's Day

St. Bartholomew's Day

August 24
St. Bartholomew is the patron saint of beekeepers and honey-makers, and for this reason it was traditional in England for the honey crop to be gathered on August 24. Since the main ingredient in mead—an ancient alcoholic drink that is still made in some parts of England today—is honey, the Blessing of the Mead is also observed on St. Bartholomew's Day.
In ancient Rome, mead was offered to the gods of love and fertility. Although few people today still believe that drinking mead will help a marriage produce children, the drink is still believed to have curative powers.
In St. Mount's Bay, Cornwall, a special ceremony is held by the Almoner of the Worshipful Company of Mead Makers. It begins with a church service, and then the participants move to the Mead Hall, where the Almoner, who is also the vicar of the parish, blesses the mead that has been fermenting for two years and pours it into a special cup. The mead can then be moved to a storage vat. In the past, mead was traditionally drunk from a bowl, known as a mazer, made from birds-eye maple with a silver rim.
See also Bartholomew Fair; Schäferlauf; Stourbridge Fair
CONTACTS:
Visit Britain
551 Fifth Ave., Ste. 701
New York, NY 10176
800-462-2748 or 212-850-0330; fax: 212-986-1188
www.visitbritain.com/us
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 606
YrbookEngFest-1954, p. 113
YrFest-1972, p. 61
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