Lawrence’s Day
St. Lawrence’s Day (10.08) used to be the day of seeding rye. On Muhu Island it was believed that the correct seeding time was three days before and three days after St. Lawrence’s Day. In mainland Estonia, the correct seeding time was considered to be the days from St. Lawrence’s Day to Assumption of the Virgin (15.08). There were work bans on St. Lawrence’s Day. No fire could be made on St. Lawrence’s Day, as this might have caused a big fire. It was not allowed to make fires in the oven, not to cook any food, not to light the barn oven, either so as not to cause a big fire. It was not even allowed to smoke a pipe on that day. Roofs were watered; on stoves or stones heated in saunas a bucket of water and a birch whisk were placed, so that St. Lawrence could whisk himself when going to the sauna. Both lightning and wind on St. Lawrence’s Day forecasted that there would be fires in the autumn. The post-drying of crops in the houses that could be heated inevitably posed an increased fire hazard at the harvesting time. It was not allowed to thresh on St. Lawrence’s Day on that day the seeds would not sprout.
In the folklore calendar, St. Lawrence’s Day also signifies the beginning of seeding the rye. People in Southern Estonia and Latvia maintained that from this day apples turn tasty and start smelling really good. Between St. Lawrence’s Day and St. Bartholomew’s Day falls the time of pulling the flax. In some places, people also started shearing their sheep on St. Lawrence’s Day. But the hay had to be able to take an iron nail on St. Lawrence’s Day.
Cows were supposed to produce even less milk after St. Lawrence’s Day. In Viru-Jaagupi it was said that St. John would take a bowl, St. James another and St. Lawrence would lick the bottoms of the bowls.
St. Lawrence’s Day was the last possibility for slaughtering a goat after that the meat would smell. Therefore food on St. Lawrence’s Day was often made of goat meat.
The first frosty night was to fall approximately on St. Lawrence’s Day. If water did not freeze, a warm autumn was to be expected;

On this day in the year of 258, St. Lawrence died a martyr. In addition to Deacon Lawrence, nine other Christian clergymen were executed on this day, among them Pope Sixtus II.
St. Lawrence was tortured to death on a burning grate. Therefore he became the patron saint of all professional men related to fire (bakers, cooks, charcoal burners, glass blowers), and it was hoped he would help in case of fire catastrophes, burns, and fever. St. Lawrence also protects all the poor and the librarians.
There are many legends related to the name of St. Lawrence. It is claimed that each Friday he descends from heaven to save one more soul from purgatory. The Pleiades meteorites falling on August nights have been termed the tears of St. Lawrence.
In Estonia, the churches of Kuusalu, Kuressaare, Laatre and No have been dedicated to St. Lawrence. Similarly to all of Europe, this saint was highly popular among the peasants in Estonia. A folktale even claims that St. Lawrence actually built the church of Kuusalu; later he was burnt near the church on a roadside stone. It is said that the stone still bears the marks of the burning grate and the fire tongs. These marks were cut into an ancient cult stone that has since been called St. Lawrence’s stone and also Path Stone; presumably this happened in the 13th century.

Laurits, Lauri, Lauro, Laur ja Laar

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