The Night of the Shooting Stars
La Notte di San Lorenzo
also know as The Night of San Lorenzo
I am never Home to Italy during August so I have never seen the shooting stars that might grant me a wish. Actually I have never seen a shooting star much as I look every time there is a clear sky.
Even today you hear ‘make a wish‘ when you see a shooting star. According to the web site Florence Inferno , August 10 is also know as the Night of San Lorenzo or the Night of the shooting Stars. Apparently there is a scientific explanation as well as tradition or myth. Valentina Gambino explains in an article in Envornment, the meteorite display may be repeated over several days with the days between August 12 and 13 when most visible.
|Photo from the Envornment web page|
But what about the myth or history behind the ‘free wishes”?
Tears of San Lorenzo, sparks from the bonfire were two of the descriptions of what the shooting stars symbolize. St Lorenzo was put to death on August 10th.
Who was San Lorenzo?
Researching San Lorenzo or Saint Lawrence, With some humor (or perhaps it if my Catholic interpretation) Trinity Stories lists events prior to San Lorenzo’s martyrdom:
He was responsible for collecting and distributing alms to the poor in Rome
San Lorenzo was commanded by emperor Valerian to give all the ‘riches’ of the Church to the Roman Prefect
San Lorenzo presented the poor under his care to the authorities
For this act he was burned on a gridiron. Perhaps only myth, it is said San Lorenzo told his torturers to ‘turn him over, he was already done on one side”. He died in 258AD.
Do the shooting stars represent his tears during torture or sparks from the bonfire that consumed. There can be may versions of one story.
But what is the draw of ‘free wishes’?
Why have we been wishing on starts as far as I can remember?
“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight” is know by many children?
With the hope that shooting stars on the night of San Lorenzo can be seen all over the world, I shall be out looking up at the stars tomorrow and the next 3 nights.
Remember that August 15th is Ferragosto, Assumption Day an important religious and traditional holiday. I need a calendar just of holidays and feasts in Italy!