Today is the Feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary, grandparents of Jesus. Tradition says that they were another of many childless couples in the Lord’s family history, and they prayed for a child. While walking in the desert, they met an angel, who told them they would have a daughter.
Mary, or Miriam, meaning “bitter like brackish water; from the River Mara”, was the most common girl’s name in their culture by far already, being an old name, the name of a prophetess at the time of the Exodus, and also sounding something like the unrelated Roman name Maria, which meant “from the sea”. The couple gave their daughter this common name.
Joachim and Anne are patrons of marriage and of grandparents. Anne is also a patron of cabinetmakers, textile artists, and homemakers.
So, how do you celebrate this feast?
In France, especially Brittany, people eat shellfish, and especially in Alscae, Gateau Ste. Anne. And here is a custard called St. Anne’s Cream.
Girls named Anne (or Ann, Anya, Hannah, Hanna, or names containing Anne such as Luann, Roseanne, Maryanne etc.) wear red and green hair ribbons on this day.
It’s also a good day to call your grandparents, naturally, or get together with them.