Lonely Planet says: "14 December, Corfu, Greece, St. Spiridion Day. Kiss a dead man's feet then grab some fresh air and dance." They provide no further explanation, which is fine, already it makes me want to go to Greece. The only information I was able to dig up was that on Palm Sunday, church leaders take the coffin holding the mummified body of St. Spiridion to carry it through the main city in a joyful celebration. I don't know why, though.

St. Spiridion's Day is also mentioned as being celebrated on 11th August, 12th September and 12th December. There is a wonderful two-page description of Saint Spiridion's Day in Gerald Durrell's book "My Family and Other Animals".
"...they would open the coffin and allow the faithful to kiss the slippered feet of the mummy, and make any request... there were elderly peasant women in their best black clothes, and their husbands, hunched as olive-trees, with sweeping white moustaches... This great multi-coloured wedge of humanity moved slowly toward the dark door of the church, and we were swept along with it, wedged like pebbles in a lava flow"
The mummified saint is kept in an upright silver coffin, with a small section at the feet, to give the celebrants access to the Saint's feet. Each worshipper approaches the coffin, bends to kiss the feet and utters their prayer. The saint is reputed to be able to cure all manner of ills in death, just as he could in life. The Greek Orthodox islanders worship him, and many men are named Spiro in his honour.


Incidentally, there appear to be two spellings of his name, that given in this node, and "Spiridon". In my copy of "My Family and Other Animals", Gerald Durrell uses the spelling "Spiridion" and I have stuck with that, although the Orthodox cathedral in Seattle is "St. Spiridon". I await further correction.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.