I’m fascinated by religious articles of any kind. Maybe it’s the non-visual nature of my own religious tradition that shuns physical, visual embellishments in favor of spiritual, musical ones. For instance in my denomination you will never see a crucifix, only the empty cross. And images of people are rarely portrayed in the sanctuary–no graven image worship for us–although it’s not a hard and fast rule.
So here are two things from my mostly Roman Catholic and Mexican students that I found very curious. The first is a rosary. I have Moslem prayer beads already. Their bead pattern is three groups of ten, I think for “hamdula”s, for a total of 30, plus larger or distinct beads separating the groups for the three parts of the shahada.
The Roman Catholic rosary has five groups of ten. But what makes this rosary unique is that it’s made from rose petals of the rosa de castilla, the only May-blooming rose. The original rosaries were said to have been made from rose petals, hence the name. This one is highly fragrant and after you handle it, your fingers are fragrant too. They say you can get it wet, but I’m not going to try that.
The second curiosity is a Saint Anthony is a hand-knotted amulet for obtaining a boyfriend. It is meant to hang on the wall or from a rear-view mirror. On one side is the phrase SAN ANTONIO CONSIGUEME NOVIO (Saint Anthony get me a boyfriend) and the brandname “Santoon”. On the other side is an image of the saint–upside down.
Apparently this saint has an on-off swtich. If he’s upside down, he will get you the boyfriend. Once you have the boyfriend you turn him right side up to get him to stop working. If you already have a boyfriend but get ticked off at him, you can just turn the saint upside down again. The poor guy looks so uncomfortable on his head. I have carefully propped him upright beside my computer lamp.