Saturday, April 12, 2008

Etymology of CalogeraI spoke to a lovely lady this morning named Rena Salaman who has published several cookbooks about Greek food and Mediterranean cooking (her latest pictured above). She has given me very helpful & constructive feedback on my cookbook proposal and also told me something I didn't know.

Rena is Greek and recognized the name Calogera, which was my grandmother's, as being of two Greek words meaning something to the effect of a good person (Calo) who was married to a monk or someone who was a nun (Gero).

When I Googled it via Behind the, it came up as Calo (kalos) beautiful and ger0 (geron) elder. It was the name of a 5th century saint, a hermit in Sicily (masculine).

See and my mother never liked her name?! I will take it as beautiful elder which is perfectly befitting of a grandmother. Now there are so many options, I can call my mother: Momma Dolce, Beautiful Elder or Calogera - Momma take your pick?


More on St. Calogero
...during the whole of the first week of July we meet St. Calogero the hermit, considered by farmers the protector of summer harvests. The festival culminates with a contest between the tambourine players of St.Calò. The hermit Calogero, born maybe in Carthage or maybe in Constantinople and reached Sicily in the 5th century AD, earned the fame of saint because, apart from expulsing the idolatrous priests from Mount Kronio, nowadays Gemeriano, he was a performer of miracles and cured the sick with the vapours of the caves of Sciacca which he understood contained therapeutic values.

The cult of the saint is linked to the miracle which took place in 1578, when Sicily was shaken by a strong earthquake and the company of St.Vito, after various attempts with processions to other saints, tried to promise a procession to St.Calogero if he saved the town, which happened punctually. From that time on, as a thanksgiving, the procession has taken place every year on the Monday after Pentecost and St.Calogero is considered the co-patron together with the Madonna of the Soccorso.

Also in Aragona we find many devotees of St.Calogero, venerated by the offers of the characteristic votive bread. They consist of offerings made of bread rather than wax, in the form of human arms and legs that are blessed and then conserved to be eaten in times of difficulty or sadness.

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