Saint Blaise
15 January 2021 - by T'a Milano

In Milan they say, “San Bias el benediss la gola e el nas” (Saint Blais blesses the throat and nose). Hence the custom of eating a thin slice of Panettone on the 3rd of February as protection against winter ailments such as colds and sore throats. 

But this tradition goes back far into time… Saint Blaise, an Armenian doctor from the 3rd century A.D., is venerated for a number of miracles, including that of saving a boy from choking to death on a fish bone. For this reason, Saint Blaise was declared protector of the throat. 

A later legend tells the story of a peasant girl who brought a Milanese friar named Desiderio a Panettone to bless a few days before Christmas. The friar was very busy, so he had the girl leave the cake with him to bless whenever he had a moment. The days passed and the peasant girl forgot to return for her cake, so the friar blessed it and ate it all up, a little at a time. On the 3rd of February, the day of Saint Blaise, the peasant girl returned to friar Desiderio to claim the blessed Panettone: the bag should have been empty, but instead a Panettone twice the size of the original one appeared! Hence the miracle of Saint Blaise and the custom of eating Panettone on the 3rd of February (even better if blessed) for protection against throat and nose ailments.

Happy Saint Blaise!

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