Monday, November 17, 2008

C'est ma fête!


November the 17th is Sainte Elisabeth day in France, so one could legitimately tell me today "C'est ta fête!" And in fact two people did, and that is one of the first times anyone has bothered to recognize this event.

I also learned today that my husband had no idea when my saint's day was...

I've never really understood these French saint's day "fêtes" anyway. Are they cause for celebration? Gift-giving? Or just saying "Bonne fête?"

(By the way, I of course know when my husband's is....)

13 comments:

spacedlaw said...

In our family we used to have little gifts for our saint's days. My Gran said that you have to celebrate it on the eve of the actual day, not sure why though...

spacedlaw said...

Oh and Bonne fête, bien sur!

The Beaver said...

Bonne Fête Betty

Papadesdeux said...

Good questions Betty. I would presume that the Catholic church created the calendar of Saint's Days as part of an effort to get everyone to give their kids good Catholic names. One the innumerable tugs to sink in the hook. And apparently (if you can believe Wikipedia) that calendar was made official along with some other "good" French names at the end of the 18th century.

So says Wikipedia... only after 1993 were parents allowed complete liberty to name their children as they wish. And even that can be over-ruled by the registrar.

I remember when our twins were named, my suggestions like Silent Morning Star, were looked upon with a certain degree of skepticism and the comment that the registrar would never accept it. "We'll end up in court."

As example, a classmate of our kids is named Phoenix. When I mentioned his name in conversations, everyone said, "you must be mistaken, his name must be Felix." Because they still don't think anyone is France is going to get away with naming their kid something as odd as Phoenix. Turns out that his parents are French, but he was born in England.

Alors, for better or worse, France is still not America.

And I'm asking myself why did I put this all on a comment instead of making a blog post out of it?

Oh, and...Men!... hmpfh!

Betty C. said...

papa, thank you for the interesting and informative comment. It's true that I have noticed a distinct lack of creative names in France compared to the PNW.

As for making a post out of it, I don't see what's stopping you!

Tinsie said...

Bonne Fête Betty (although I'm a bit late)!

The Orthodox church also celebrates saints' days, and each person has a nameday accordingly. In Greece a nameday is the cause of much celebration, traditionally and often to this day more so than a birthday.

P.S. It is also said that a nameday celebration lasts 40 days, in which case I'm almost too early in wishing you a Bonne Fête (hehe).

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

hope you don't mind that I just tagged you!

Elisabeth said...

Bonne fete, donc, avec un peu de retard.

Even though my name is also Elisabeth, my patron saint is not Elizabeth of Hungary (celebrated on Nov. 17), but the mother of John-the-Baptist (celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church on November 5.)

My parents chose my name (which could have also been Anne, they were wavering. I am so happy that they chose Elisabeth!). But it is my uncle, who baptized me, who decided that my patron saint would be the Biblical Elisabeth. His name, actually, was Jean-Baptiste, and I once told him, when I was maybe 10 or 12, that he should respect me because my name was that of his patron saint's mother.

Linda said...

My husband is always upset when his family doesn't remember his Saint Day. I guess it used to be a really big deal. I always forget the date but keep meaning to at least get him a cake. There is no Saint Linda Day so no celebration for me.

Betty C. said...

Elisabeth -- You have quite the unusual story on your Saint's Day!

To all -- we never made much of a big deal of it for our kids because one of our daughters has a Saint's Day first name and the other doesn't, or only by association and it never shows up on the calendar....

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

so is this why there are so many Jean- (dashes) Yves and Pierres and Lucs? the Jean is the Christian requirement?

poppy fields said...

My in-laws usually call each other on their Fête. No one calls me thoug, no Sainte Meredith...or maybe I'll be the first :)

Betty C. said...

Thanks for all the comments on this post. Now I just wish everyone in France could figure out that I spell my name with a Z not an S...