Monday, Apr. 19, 2010

Blood of San Gennaro

Each year the people of Naples, Italy, gather on the anniversary of the martyrdom of their patron saint, San Gennaro, to watch a miracle: the liquifying of the saint's dried blood. The miracle occurs like clockwork on Sept. 19, and as many as 18 additional times a year. The fact that the phenomenon has been questioned by scientists has never stopped the celebration. Many believe the so-called miracle of the blood serves to protect the town from harm (such as from the nearby Mount Vesuvius). That belief has been partially legitimized in years when the blood failed to liquefy and bad things happened — witness 1527's plague, an earthquake in 1980 and even the defeat of the Napoli football (soccer) club.