If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

08 December 2006

In Honor of Sexually Frustrated Women Everywhere

I'm bound to offend someone here (what else is new?), but thank goodness I went to the grocery store yesterday, because today was yet another 'stealth holiday' here. They sneak up on me all the time. I'm sure people arriving in America think the same thing when we have, say, the ever-so-confusing Casmir Pulaski Day off (showing off my midwestern roots here). Whereas most American holidays have their roots in politics, most festa days here in Italy are church-based. Italy is still a fundamentally culturally religious country (birth of Catholicism and all that), although the majority of modern Italians are generally NOT practicing Catholics (or anything else that requires order and regulation). But, thousands of years of habits die hard and their culture is imbued and intertwined with the culture of the church, and besides - any excuse for a day off, right? And so it goes that EVERY day on my Italian calendar has the name of at least one saint's celebration attached to it. Today is red, meaning HOLIDAY!, and it's the Immacolata Concezione.

That reminds me of one of my favorite running jokes with the Old Soul, when I'm feeling hungover and queasy in the morning, usually on a road trip...

V: (turning a little green) "Oooooh. Not feeling so hot this morning. Maaaaaybe that last martini was a bad idea"
OS: "Then again, maybe you're pregnant"
V: "Oh, yeah. How f***ed up is the world if I'm the best candidate for the next immaculate conception?"

Cheers, Mary. This one's for you.

PS: I'm arguably decent at math, though I do keep PiGuy handy on my phone-a-friend list. But yasee, it's the 8th. And if memory serves, the birth of Jesus is celebrated on the 25th. Can any of my practicing religious friends out there enlighten me on what was obviously the worlds' shortest or longest human gestation period on record? Inquiring (if somewhat irreverent) minds ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being the good Catholic girl I am, I can help you with this one.

Jesus is not the one immaculately conceived. It was Mary. "Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us." Or, as Mary proclaimed to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Mary, as befits the mother of God, is without sin and thus was conceived that way.

Jesus' conception is a whole 'nother story.

~ cupcake

4:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, another Catholic weighing in. See, in about the 14th century or so, Pope (whoever it was at the moment) determined that December 25 should be the day that we celebrate the birth of Christ. There are no birth records that date back 2000+ years ago, so no one knows for exactly sure when Christ was born. Prior to Pope Whoever deciding that 12/25 should be the day that the we celebrate the birth of Jesus, there was no big ole birthday bash for the King of Kings. And, as Cupcake pointed out, 12/8 is the celebration of Mary's immaculate conception, not Jesus'. The Catholic church sets up some pretty interesting(read:weird) ideas, but no one at the Vatican is saying that Jesus was conceived on 12/8 and born on 12/25. Common misconception (pun intended), but not accurate.

Anyhoo - hope that helps explain one of the mysteries plaguing your mind.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, shoot. I mis-typed the century that Pope Whoever invented Christmas. It was the 4th, not the 14th!

6:44 PM  
Blogger I'm Just a Girl said...

Another Catholic girl chiming in--the "Immaculate Conception" has been a longstanding prank in our religion. When polled I'd bet at least 50% of Catholics would say it was the conception of Jesus that the holiday was centered around. As cupcake pointed out, it was Mary's conception. And because it is observed so close to Christmas, one can only assume (incorrectly, though understandably) that it referred to Christ's conception.

2:48 AM  
Blogger tallulah said...

I don't think it says anywhere in the bible that Mary conceived through immaculate conception. As far as I understand, it's something the Catholics made up to make Mary seem innocent and holy.

What do I know? Absolultely nothing (although I grew up in "The Church") Christmas on the 8th...Christmas on the 25th...whatever, just give me more rum and eggnog.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't say so in the Bible, but when Mary presented herself to St. Bernadette at Lourdes, she announced that she is the Immaculate Conception. The Church had been discussing the point for some time, but there is no way Bernadette - a poor, illiterate and sickly child - would have known about the debate, much less have known what conception was, immaculate or otherwise.

~ cupcake

8:04 PM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

Seriously, you gang are AMAZING. Who knew that just by throwing random and only marginally witty irreverence out into the world that I'd learn so much?!? Thanks for the lesson ... and rest assured, as the holiday season inches forward, we'll have many more opportunities for you to shed light on my woeful ignorance!

That's it for this edition of Viaggiatore's Catholic Church Basement, tune in next week when we're discussing the Three Wise Men. Were they wise? Really Men?

Our esteemed panel answers YOUR questions next!

2:47 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

Um, I'm Catholic and I dunno. :-)

9:03 PM  

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