October 16 – St. Gallus Day in Switzerland

Posted on October 16, 2015

People who are farmers live more by the sun, even, than the rest of us do – and this was especially true back in the past, when we had fewer ways to get around nature's limitations!

Farmers had to worry about sunlight for their crops and weather affecting both crops and livestock. They often started work at daybreak and ended at sundown. They tried to capitalize on sunny summers and rainy seasons. They were careful to harvest crops before they froze.

Today, St. Gallus Day, was all about agricultural traditions...and weather prediction.

  • Rain on St. Gallus Day was thought to be a sign of good luck - BUT, if there was a lot of rain on St. Gallus Day, it was thought to be a sign that rains would continue until Christmas. If there was no rain, it was thought to be a sign that the next summer would be dry.
  • Farmers hastened to store all the fruit that would be used as seed for next year in the cellar, AND to store all eating apples in the cellar, by this date.
  • After St. Gallus Day, farmers started butchering and smoking their hams and started keeping their cows warm and safe in barns.

St. Gallus (also known as St. Gall) was born in Ireland but lived much of his long life in Switzerland. However, according to what I read, he enjoyed a lot of popularity in Germany as well as Switzerland. (For example, a week-long festival used be held in his name in Germany.)

The most popular legend about St. Gallus is that, when the saint was traveling through the woods, he had built a campfire and was sitting near it, warming his hands. Suddenly, a bear came into the clearing and started to charge Gallus. He held up his hands and commanded the bear to stop – and the bear stopped running toward him and then slunk back into the forest.

The legend goes on to say that the bear gathered some more firewood and then came back to the campfire to help stoke the fire and to share in its heat. From then on, people say that St. Gallus was accompanied by that bear.

Did you know...?

  • Switzerland's 2-letter country code is CH...which is surely a bit unexpected! I mean, the United States' code is US, Thailand's is TH, Swaziland's is SZ...so why is Switzerland's CH?
The official name of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica (which is Latin for Swiss Confederation). So...CH makes sense.

For some uses, countries also have 3-letter country codes. The United States' code is (you guessed it) USA, and Switzerland's is CHE (obviously for Confoederatio HElvetica).

Sometimes Switzerland is abbreviated SUI...Like on a tennis match, when you are watching Swiss tennis great Roger Federer annihilating his opponent, you will often see Federer (SUI). This abbreviation comes from the French word for Switzerland, which is la Suisse.

  • Even though Switzerland is between West Virginia and Maryland in size, the nation has FOUR official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

  • CERN, the world's largest particle physics lab, is located on the border between Switzerland and France, near Geneva, Switzerland. This research organization, made up of 21 European countries plus Israel, is doing incredibly exciting work that will probably speak to the beginnings and endings of the universe and other big questions!

    CERN stands for
    "Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire."

I was interested to discover that there is an Arts@CERN program, with artists winning residencies so that they can soak up some of the energy and interesting notions at CERN and then weave them into their dance, music, or visual arts!

Check out the videos at the Arts@CERN website

Also on this date:

Birthdays of biochemists Henry C. Sherman and Cyril Ponnamperuma

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:
And here are my Pinterest boards for:

No comments:

Post a Comment