20 November 2008

Saint Robin

Everyone here in Spain gets to have a dia del sant, or Saint Day, the day on which their namesake saint is celebrated. By extension, somehow, the person bearing that name is also celebrated, complete with presents from the family, so that you have sort of a second birthday. It's really amazing how everyone walks around with a holy days calendar in their head. People who know your name--neighbors, shopkeepers, relatives--will call you on the phone or call out their felicitats! as you pass, because while they might not know your birthday, your name corresponds to the saint, so it's a built in reminder. Anyone who regularly attends mass is given, on the full parroquial (parochial newsletter), a list of that week's saint days. Even those who don't go to church know the saint days of most common names, since they probably have a Josep/Josefina, Pau/Paula, a Maria or Pere or Anna or Marc in their family.

We celebrated the Mister's saint day this month with his family, complete with presents. In fact, I'm curled up in one of them now, a cozy fleece blanket. One of my failings as a partner is that thus far I have never remembered his saint day until it is nearly upon us, and even then the importance of it somehow escapes me, so that I fail to get a gift. Not this year, though! I knew just what to get him--because he, um, told me what he wanted--but... it's not ready yet. Still at the shop. Hey, at least I got him a gift!

Then there's me. As far as I knew, there was no Saint Robin. But the Mister and I were talking about names, and we did a little digging on the internet, and found a bizarrely-named page in French ("Call Back Me It" for a birthday and saint day reminder service? sounds like some Babelfish translation at work), which says that Saint Robin's day is April 30! I have a day! Too bad it's only 9 days before my birthday. Would have been nice to spread it out a bit. But wait! Another page, this one in Spanish, says that it's September 17! Much better. I can't for the life of me find any info on who "Saint Robin" was, or if they're just making this up, but I'll take it. Presents? Sign me up!

One tidbit I did manage to find is a poem by Sir Edmund William Gosse about "Saint Robin." Even if this is just poetic fancy, I'll be happy to think of the "saint of flowers" who has birds for a choir and a nimbus of daffodils on his head. (Which would, come to think of it, put the logical date for celebration closer to April 30 than September 17...)

With a Copy of Herrick

Fresh with all airs of woodland brooks
And scents of showers,
Take to your haunt of holy books
This saint of flowers.

When meadows burn with budding May,
And heaven is blue,
Before his shrine our prayers we say,--
Saint Robin true.

Love crowned with thorns is on his staff,--
Thorns of sweet briar;
His benediction is a laugh,
Birds are his choir.

His sacred robe of white and red
Unction distils;
He hath a nimbus round his head
Of daffodils.


Astrid said...

In Norway you have your nameday on june 7th. Finland and Sweden celebrate this more than we do and was started by the early church (protestant) because it was seen as more Christian to celebrate the baptism and your name rather than the day you were born.

And Robin is celebrating this day together with Robert - I don't know if there's a connection between the two though.

candc said...

"for a birthday and saint day reminder service"

Your are right... but what is strange?

Robin said...

Thanks, Astrid! Now I've got another day to choose from...and June would be great!

But dad, you're right that September is a good option. Here I was thinking I had no saint day and all of the sudden I have three!

candc, I found the website's name strange (Call Back Me It), not the service itself...

Catherine said...

I believe that Robin is a diminutive of Robert. In Scotland it would likely be Robertina or Roberta. (I like Robin better, though)

Addie Harris said...

Sorry to rain on your parade. Both those web pages say that Robin is just a nickname for Robert. There is no Saint Robin.

Robin Milner said...

As another Robin living in Spain, I'm going to assume that it's OK to hijack Saint Robert's day. Did you settle on any particular date for it whilst you were in Cataluña? I share the concern about 30th April - I too have my birthday in early May (7th, to be precise), so perhaps September would be better. It also gives me more time to drop hints to friends and family :)

Lourdhu Robin said...

Really is there a saint in the name Robin
because my name too Robin

pls help me