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viernes, 20 de enero de 2012

St Sebastian

Today is a day off in Palma. It's St. Sebastian's Day. As good revellers, we went out yesterday for roasting not on an open fire, but on a grill. Although it was crowded at the beginning, Manu from cocinandoconcatman could find some room for us and started the roasting of bacon, "sobrassada", chops and other pork delis . In case you don't know, the slaughtering of the pig is pretty popular in Mallorca and starts before Christmas. If you want to know more about the tradition, just click here.
On this occasion our American friends, Jocelyn and Marisa joined us. I want them to have a nice impression of our traditions; even though it could be weird to be out with low temperatures, yesterday Sebastian granted us with a nice and not so cold eve. 
After eating, we walked around the different spots of the cities where we could hear music ranging from flamenco, to folk and the pop music of Maldita Nerea.
Thanks Pablo and Carlos for joining us once more. I hope trains were on time today ; )

Let's move on to the legend now. The most summarised version for my students I have found on the net is the following one from Domestic Church.

Sebastien seemed to have everything going for him. He was the son of a wealthy Roman family, with all the education, privilege and opportunities that offered. When he grew up he became an officer of the Imperial Roman army and captain of the guard. Not only that, he was a good friend and favorite of Diocletian the Emperor. Sebastien could have anything he wanted, had any kind of life he wanted.

The emperor hated Christians. He started a 'persecution' of Christians, which meant that they were arrested and executed if they did not reject God and Jesus Christ. Many brave and holy early Christians achieved their Heavenly reward by choosing to remain faithful to God and suffering martyrdom.

It is not clear when Sebastien became a Christian. He may have converted as a young adult, and kept it secret from his friends and family. But when Diocletian began his persecution of the Christians, Sebastien decided to end his secrecy. He visited his Christian brothers in prison, bringing them supplies and some comfort. Sebastien reported to have healed by making the sign of the Cross over the wife of a brother soldier.

This bravery and integrity in the face of persecution converted soldiers and a governor to the Christian faith. Obviously, the God and faith of the Christians was more important and more compelling than life itself. Eventually, he was discovered. Charged as a Christian, Diocletian asked Sebastien to deny his faith. Sebastien refused. He was taken outside the city, tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. Much to Diocletian's surprise, Sebastien survived being shot with arrows. When he had recovered, he returned to reproach and preach to Diocletian. The emperor then had him beaten to death.

During the 14th century the unpredictable and random nature of infection with the Black Death caused people to compare the plague to their villages being shot by an army of nature's archers. In desperation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archery, and Saint Sebastien became associated with the plague. 

If you feel lazy to read, you may also want to practise your listening with the following video narrated by Zach Barthel et alii.

This is the image that you can find in the chapel of St. Sebastian in the cathedral of Palma 

Have a wonderful St Sebastian's festival and remember if you don't have any exam to revise you can still go out to some more gigs or watch the spectacle of fireworks at Palma's bay.

Teaching English by Fran | St. Anthony the Great
Teaching English by Fran | The Cathedral of Lights/St. Martin's Lights

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