Friday, May 13, 2016
Of Bread and Chickens
A participant in the ''Bread Procession of the Saint'' takes part in a ceremony in honor of Domingo de La Calzada Saint in Santo Domingo de La Calzada, Spain.
OK then. So the question is, "What is the Brad Procession of the Saint"? We don't know. There's a procession with women wearing baskets on their heads.
And on top of the basket...bread.
What does any of this have to do with Saint Dominic de la Calzada? I don't know.The only thing I can figure that SHOULD be associated with St. Dominic is chickens.
After Dominic's death numerous legends developed regarding miracles obtained by those who prayed to him. Two of them involve the resuscitation of a cooked rooster.
In one, a Moorish chieftain who is holding a young prisoner from Rioja is warned one evening at dinner that the youth has been praying to St. Dominic; perhaps the saint might free the captive. The Moor says that is as likely as that the roasted rooster on his plate should get up and crow. Suddenly the rooster does just that, and when the Moor looks in the prison the young man is in fact gone, his cell filled with a great light signifying the presence of St. Dominic.
In the other legend, a 14th-century pilgrim family stops in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and the young man of the family catches the eye of the innkeeper's daughter. Because he refuses to sleep with her, she hides a silver cup in his hood and later has him arrested for theft. The judge condemns him to death. The distraught parents continue to Compostela, pray to St. James for their son, and return again by way of the town. On the outskirts they see their son hanging from the gallows but alive. He says that Dominic and the Blessed Virgin have kept him alive and that they should go tell the judge.
Like the Moor, the judge is having a chicken dinner and dismisses the story with the same remark about the cooked rooster and hen on the plate before him. But the chickens do indeed rise up, fully feathered, and the rooster crows loudly. So the judge goes to the gallows, where he finds the young man living and has him released.
In both stories, the people of the town adopt the rooster and hen and make a place for them in the church. Today an ornate Late Gothic henhouse in the Cathedral houses a rooster and hen said to be descended from the chickens of the story.