a wandering woman writes

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Llevar huevos a las clarisas

I attended a super-wedding last Saturday. Attended? Attended is far too passive a word; I danced my second Spanish super-wedding to smithereens on Saturday,and my feet along with it. I'll hope to post a bit about it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I'll share my latest lesson in Spanish traditions.

Saturday was a glorious day, summer-like...with skies that blue only Spain can produce. Good thing, too. The reception was held in a enormous garden, with a tent for dinner and dancing after a long afternoon of outdoor drinks, appetizers and lawns throroughly aerated by the heels of the female guests.

As I chatted, I kept hearing strange comments I didn't quite understand --"Ah, she (the bride) brought eggs to the Clarisas, didn't she?" "The Clarisas liked their eggs!" Finally the comment hit me straight on, in a conversation in which I was involved, and I got my explanation.

The Clarisas are the nuns of the order of Saint Clare - Poor Clares, we call them back in New England - and apparently, Spanish brides have been bringing them eggs to assure good weather on wedding days for centuries. Seems the nuns need the eggs for their sweets-making or to distribute to the poor. In return for a dozen or two or three, they generously pray for (and usually receive, so I hear) good weather from their founder, Saint Clare.

Feeding my curiousity on this newly discovered egg-nun-weather connection, I ran across this fairly scholarly study of the whole matter (in Spanish).

Apparently a rainy wedding day was considered a curse a few centuries ago. Doomed to cry the rest of her disgraced life if she married on a rainy day, the bride took matters in her own hands and offered a dozen eggs to the local order of Saint Clara. For a clear day, (tiempo claro) the bride brought eggs with their claras (or whites) to the nuns of Saint Clara. Logical enough, eh?

The article reports the results of a survey carried out in 1993 in which Spain's 60 convents dedicated to Santa Clara were asked to respond to a series of questions - questions about eggs and rain and brides. All but 3 of the convents that responded to the survey reported a busy egg for sun business The nuns reported that they did not in fact have a special eggs for weather prayer, but that they appreciated the eggs, and merely asked Saint Clare to consider the happiness and loyalty of the marrying couple.

Most of the convents reported not likely the recent extension of the egg offering tradition to more modern "wants", like exam results, job offers, vacation weather and even a passing grade on the driver's license practical exam.

I was intrigued at the wedding, in any case. The bride assures me she did not in fact give eggs to the local nuns of Saint Clara.

But I'm betting someone did. While Carmen was explaining the mystery of the egg comments to me, a unidentified woman approached and assured us, with an air of absolute confidence, that the local Poor Clares do not, in fact, want any more eggs.

"They won't take eggs!, she said. "Now they only want money."

In person or online.

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14 Comments:

  • Okay. What do you want me to say?
    You do know this is getting to be all too much for me, yes?
    Send energy to the cemetary tomorrow.
    Maybe I'll offer an egg...surely St. Clare would consider...

    By Blogger Laura Young, at 1:10 AM  

  • Funny traditions I suppose

    By Blogger Alfacharly, at 10:32 AM  

  • Oh I don't know, Alex I like this tradition! And I especially like that this crazy old tradition changed to fit the 21st century - they apparently would get inundated with eggs, and poor people these days (and nuns) need more than eggs so they take donations- even online. I like that!

    Energy's there, Laura but hey just back off of all this too much for you, says me... I'll be thinking of you today.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 10:36 AM  

  • Globalisation? Money instead of eggs, eh!

    By Blogger Cream, at 8:11 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:07 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 PM  

  • Wandering woman.....Go away to frie asparagous......!

    By Anonymous charro, at 1:52 PM  

  • Can I ask why, charro?

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 2:11 PM  

  • And Charro, on a wild site statistics (yes I see your ISP and path when you visit my site) guess, if you are the same person who's spent the last 3 days leaving comments under various names, various names within a single visit even.....and entering my site, and this fascinates me, always through the same google search, for my post about calle expolio....if you have a beef with me, I'd rather have you express it than leave cryptic comments about Lepanto and Antonio Sardinha. Or tell me to go fry asparagus.

    I'll keep erasing the comments that have no connection to the post you put them with, and yes, sooner or later, i'll just change to monitored comments, where comments will not appear online until I okay them. Not out of censorship. If you have a comment, I'm all ears. If you want to post spam on my site, I'm going to delete it.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 2:25 PM  

  • Mi inglés es muy deficiente para poder polemizar. Únicamente quiero decirte que a una ciudad culta y acogedora como Salamanca no merecía el trato humillatorio que ha recibido con motivo del "descuartizamiento" del Archivo de Salamanca, situado en la antigua calle Gibraltar (rebautizada como calle del Expolio). La numerología (numerology) diría que los nombre no son inocentes, y que nada bueno podía venir de "Gibraltar" (localidad donde comenzó la invasión musulmana en el año 711, colonia de la Gran Bretaña desde 1705; lugar donde las logias masónicas trazaron la revuelta iberoamericana de Simón Bolivar......). Nada más. Ha sido mi última intervención.

    By Anonymous charro, at 6:01 PM  

  • Pues, es un comentario bienvenido y bien expresado, charro, gracias.

    Tengo una teoría: es por tu inglés que no has entendido bien mi entrada sobre el tema. No expresaba ninguna opinión sobre el polémica, no estaba de acuerdo ni con las acciones de los catalanes ni con la decisión del comité ese (no recuerdo el nombre) que decidió a favor de los catalanes. Soy aficionada al archivo, lo visito a menudo, y me parecía humillatorio el tratamiento del archivo y de la historia.

    Ya te has expresado bien y ha funcionado mejor, ¿de verdad?

    Si leyeras más del blog, verías que yo también considero Salamanca como una ciudad culta y acogedora.

    Gracias por tu comentario. ¿Todavía tengo que frier esparragos? ;)

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 7:10 PM  

  • Con tu último comentario ha cambiado mi opinión sobre ti. Te agradezco que difundas la verdadera realidad de España en general y de Salamanca en particular, alejada de la "Leyenda Negra"......La historia será muy dura con doña Carmen Calvo, la ministra de Cultura que dió la orden de "despiezar" el Archivo de Salamanca, y también con Zapatero, el leonés (casado con una abulense) que no resistió las presiones que resistieron sus antecesores,los Señores González y Aznar. Algunos de los personajes que participaron en el "expolio cultural" ya han sido condenados al ostracismo (Catalina Mieras, Pascual Maragall, Jose Bono Martinez......). Y en relación a los espárragos.....mejor acompañados de jamón ibérico.....Un abrazo.

    By Anonymous charro, at 8:05 PM  

  • Interesting story.

    I remember seeing bits about the baking nuns on travel shows about Spain

    By Anonymous my backyard, at 10:11 PM  

  • Thanks for the comment backyard, and yes, if you get to Spain, ask the locals where to buy sweets from the nuns. In some cases it's an interesting adventures - You don't see the nuns (cloistered), and you buy your sweets by putting your money on a lazy susan, and turning it, only to have it turn toward you again, full of cookies. :)

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:05 PM  

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