Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ladies: Happy Catherning, Nov. 25

 Welcome to your festival, ladies.
In the medieval world, Nov. 25, was another special day of celebration. It’s St. Catherine’s Day, for St. Catherine of Alexandria. And as the name suggests, it’s a feast day particularly dear to women.

St. Catherine was recognized as a patron saint by several groups such as lawyers and wheelwrights. But most prominently, she was “revered a women’s guide and guardian” (Cosman 87), especially of unmarried women, including female students.

Because of her association with women, St. Catherine Day (Catherning) could be considered a ‘woman’s day’ as St. Martin’s Day or Martinmas could be considered a man’s day. As Madeleine Pelner Cosman says, “Many Cathernings, therefore, are women’s feasts” (87). On that day, various kinds of celebrations were conducted featuring wheels or wheel-shaped objects.

One of the primary objects in these festivities was a Catherine Wheel. A wagon wheel, or something in that shape, was decorated with lighted candles at the ends of the spokes. In much later years, after the Guy Faulks uprising, fireworks might replace the candles when the wheels were outside. In medieval times, the lighted wheels could be hung above diners in the great hall.

Many other decorations and food items were in the shape of wheels as well. Catherine or Cattern Cakes were baked. Rich with sugar and caraway seeds, they have long been a delicacy associated with the celebration.

Why is everything in a wheel or spoke shape? The wheel commemorates the remarkable story of the death of St. Catherine.

Condemned by the Roman Emperor Maximinus (a truly despicable guy who killed, among others, his wife and 200 of his soldiers for converting to Christianity), Catherine (who converted them) was ordered put to death on a wheel. To the astonishment and consternation of onlookers, the wheel broke.

Many people viewed this as divine intervention, but officials were not to be deterred. Catherine was removed from the broken wheel and beheaded. Hers is one of the voices Joan of Arc was said to have heard.

Because she is such a symbol for unmarried women, sayings, songs, etc., developed over the years. So on her day, Nov. 25, one could often hear girls chanting:

“St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid
And grant that I never may die an old maid.”

Or perhaps:

”A husband, St. Catherine
A handsome one, St. Catherine
A rich one, St. Catherine
A nice one, St. Catherine
And soon, St. Catherine”


Cosman, Madeleine Pelner. Medieval Holidays and Festivals. New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1981.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Between the Pages: IF YOU WERE ME AND WROTE BOOKS by Barbara Bettis

Yes, it's all about me today over at Lynda Coker's blog. You know how we introverts are, but she asked some good questions, so I managed to share something. LOL. Here's the link if you'd like to pop over.

Between the Pages: IF YOU WERE ME AND WROTE BOOKS by Barbara Bettis: #Medieval #Phoenix #Knight #RWA #Heart #Research @Barbara Bettis Let me introduce Author Barbara Bettis. Barbara says,  " I love cr...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nov. 11 Also Celebrated in Medieval World

Today the U. S. celebrates its military men and women. Ironically, Nov. 11 was celebrated in the medieval world, as well. Why ironic? Well, the man who became St. Martin, for whom the day is named, originally served as a Roman soldier, but left to join the church. He eventually became Bishop of Tours--although he really didn't want to be :)

One of the traditions of St Martin is found in the many depictions of him as a soldier cutting his cloak in half to share with a beggar he found alongside the road. 
It is said that that night in a dream St. Martin saw the beggar actually was Christ, who announced that it was Martin, although  unbaptized, who had clothed him against the cold. Soon after, Martin went to be baptized. 

According to Sulpitius Severus in his On the Life of St. Martin, Martin was 20 years of age. He didn't retire from the Roman army at that time, however. Severus reports that he served out the rest of his time in the military because his commander promised to retire as well if Martin did so. Although he did stay in the army, he did not fight.
I'm visiting Karen Blake Hall today, talking about that and other significances of this month in the middle ages, and I though you might like to see just how and what the people would celebrate some 800 years ago.
And for more of Severus' account of St. Martin: http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/npnf2-11/sulpitiu/lifeofst.html#tp

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Welcome Nhys Glover and The Gladiator's Bride

Welcome to Take a Look Tuesday. Help me greet  Nhys Glover and her new book The Gladiator's Bride. Nhys is awarding a $10 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn visitor during her tour, so don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway blow.

Here's the book's blurb

Crippled by shyness, shunned for being not-right-in-the-head, gifted artist and Roman noblewoman, Marcia Mica, has only two people in the world who truly love her – her teacher, Daedalus, and her childhood friend, Asterion, both slaves in her father’s household. But when forbidden love blooms between the unlikely friends, only disaster can come of it. That disaster leaves Marcia horribly scarred and Asterion sold into the arena as a gladiator.

Years later, Daedalus brings a broken Marcia to Britannia, and Sabrina, the healer who saved his life when he was a boy, works miracles on the scarred girl. However, not all scars are physical and those Sabrina has no ability to heal.

When Sabrina and Marcia are kidnapped by a Celtic leader bent on revenge, Asterion must depend on the dreams of a Celtic Seer to find the love of his life and help foil a revolt that threatens the fragile peace in Roman Britannia. But even if he and his friends succeed, can scars that are more than just physical ever really be healed and can those whose lives are owned by others ever truly be free to follow their hearts?


That was when he saw it. That was when he knew this wasn’t a dream.  Or if it was it was, it was his worst nightmare: The whole right side of her face and body were covered by red, ugly burn-scars.

He gasped and dropped to his knees, his legs unable to hold him up a moment longer.

Daedalus came to his side and rested a hand on his shoulder. ‘It’s a bit of a shock the first time you see it. But after a while you don’t notice it.’

He stared up at the man who had been like a father to him; the man he blamed for being right about Marcie and him. How could he say this was a bit of a shock?

But before he had a chance to snap out a retort, Marcie’s body began jerking as the healing commenced. Though he couldn’t see anything happening, he could sense it. And so it seemed could Daedalus.

‘It’s her… By all the gods, it’s her,’ Daedalus whispered in awe as he watched Sabrina’s face, transformed by the Urge that had taken control of her.

He didn’t know what Daedalus meant. He didn’t care what he meant. This man had had his Marcie all this time. She’d been alive, all this time, and no one had told him. They’d let him leave the Estate thinking she was dead. And he’d died that day because of it.

‘You bastard. Why didn’t you tell me?’ he sobbed out, his voice breaking on the last word.

‘Tell you?’ Daedalus looked at him as if he’d grown a second head.

‘That she lived. They told me she was dead. Her sister told me she was dead.’

Meet Nhys:

After a lifetime of teaching others to appreciate the written word, Aussie author Nhys Glover finally decided to make the most of the Indie Book Revolution to get her own written word out to the world. Now, with almost 100,000 of her ebooks downloaded internationally and a winner of 2013 SFR Galaxy Award for 'The Titan Drowns', Nhys finds her words, too, are being appreciated.

At home in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales of England, Nhys these days spends most of her time "living the dream" by looking out over the moors as she writes the kind of novels she loves to read: The ones that are a little bit steamy, a little bit different and wholly romantic.

Visit her at:



Click below to enter for the Gift Card Giveaway!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f464/">Enter to win a $10 Amazon GC! A Rafflecopter Giveaway

And check out Nhys' upcoming blog stops here: