Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

Tears of Saint Lawrence are falling on you

Tonight is lit by the Perseid meteor shower, also known as the tears of St. Lawrence, and here in Madrid, we're celebrating the fiesta of San Lorenzo.

Legend says that Lawrence was a deacon of Rome during the reign of Valerian, and he was ordered to turn over the riches of the church to Valerian's prefect. Instead he gave them to the poor. When he was ordered to present the treasures, he presented poor and suffering people as the riches of the church, and he declared: "The Church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor."

As a result, the legend continues, on August 10, 258 AD, he was executed by being grilled over a fire, and that night the sky was miraculously lit up with shooting stars. Those were the "tears of St. Lawrence." (The painting of the event is by Titian.)

The Perseid meteor shower comes during late July and early August, and it attracts more viewers than any other because of its dense shower. Many meteors leave spectacular trails in the sky. Although the meteors were noted for centuries, in 1866 the Perseids became the first meteor shower linked to a specific comet, Swift-Tuttle. As NASA says:

The streets of the Lavapies neighborhood of Madrid, where the Fiesta de San Lorenzo is centered, are filled long past midnight with lights, music, dancing, food, drink, and carnival games. People in traditional Madrid costumes swagger through the crowds — the costume isn't complete without a streetwise attitude. A religious procession for San Lorenzo will pass through Lavapiés this evening, and then neighborhood clubs will give out free sangria to devotees.

— Sue Burke

Tags: spanish

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