Saint Florian Day - May 4th
St. Florian's Feast Day is celebrated on May 4 every year. St.
Florian, the patron saint of firefighters and chimney sweeps,
is also the celebrated patron of Linz, Austria and Poland. His
protection is also invoked against flooding and drowning.
He became associated with all these things when, as a young Roman
army commander, he refused to persecute Christians when ordered
to do so. When asked why, he professed his own Christian faith.
The Roman leaders, not amused, punished him by flaying him, burning
him alive, and then throwing him into the Enns river with a millstone
tied around his neck to drown.
Saint Florian is said to have saved the town of Nurnberg, Germany
from a fire that happened in the 8th century. Whether beer or
water was used to douse the flames is not clear, but the saint
was credited with saving the town. He is widely honored in Central
Europe, especially around current-day Austria (where he died)
Feast Days began as a celebration of the day a martyr was "born
into heaven", or martyred. The number of feast days in the
year has risen and fallen based on who could declare a feast day
or ecclesiastical legislation. In the current calendar, each day
is a feast day for several saints, although some feast days are
granted more importance than others.
A patron saint may protect the members of a profession or occupation-for
instance, St. Florian protects firefighters. Others may feel a
special affinity with a patron saint because their birthday falls
on that saint's Feast Day, or they have experienced intercession
in their lives from that saint.
On a Feast Day, prayers are offered up to the saint, often for
protection or intercession. Often a meal is shared, and Mass is
said. Feast days may be celebrated locally for someone who has
been beatified, or more universally, for someone who has been
declared a saint. The church's liturgical calendar lists all the
feast days celebrated.
Many people purchase pendants or charms with the likeness of
their patron saint and usually an inscription. Sometimes a prayer
will be inscribed on the reverse side, and these medals are often
worn by those seeking intercession, especially on the saint's
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