Saturday, 17 August 2013
My first thoughts as a kid of 9 upon seing a painting showing Sant'Agata (Saint Agatha of Sicily):
-Oh, she's offering sweets... Oh wait they're her... BREASTS? Why?
Thus I found out about martyrdom. Gory business. So I'll just leave it to you to understand why she's holding her severed breasts on a tray (while miraculously contrieving to still have a pair in the right place).
Aside from that, Saint Agata is one of the oldest martyrs we know about, and over time has come to represent a few different concepts, or expertise areas, like "breast cancer patients, martyrs, wet nurses, rape victims, sterility, bell-founders, bakers, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount Etna."
On the grand days of her festival (3 to 5 of February, plus the 17th of August) in Catania, a special treat is prepared: "minne di Sant'Aita", sort of breast-shaped pastry.