Can we all just agree that there are some pretty out-there so-called “holidays”? (For example, February 15th is National Hippo Day, November 13th is National Chicken Nuggets Day, and March 11th is National Napping Day!) Depending how you look at it, summertime is either one big long holiday (with the kids out of school) or is seriously lacking in significant holidays that are so plentiful during the spring, autumn, and winter months (think Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day, to name just a few).
Maybe we could also all agree that there’s a saint for just about everything (Did you know, for example, that there is a patron saint of lost things, and a patron saint of patience? There’s also one of kidneys, another for yoga, and yet another just for food!) With those things said, those facts now acknowledged, you may be interested to know about a little-known day known as St. Arnold’s Day, which just happens to be coming up on July 18th.
Saints Arnold, Patron Saints of Brewers
Arnold of Metz was born around 580 A.D., became a French bishop in 612, and died in 640. Legend has it that his parishioners had to trek a long way one hot summer day in order to collect his remains and bring them back to where he was supposed to be buried in Metz. They were running low on supplies (otherwise known as beer) and prayed to Arnold to provide them what they needed (again, beer) and Arnold miraculously provided his followers enough beer to last them on their way back to Metz. It’s like the loaves and the fishes, but with beer! Have a drink in honor of St. Arnold of Metz! This St. Arnold is the one St. Arnold’s Day was intended to honor, but oddly enough, there’s more than one St. Arnold – and more than one St. Arnold who was a patron saint of beer and brewers!
Arnold (or Arnoul) of Soissons (a patron saint of brewers and hop pickers) lived about a hundred years after Arnold of Metz, described above. In 1080, Arnold of Soissons became a bishop of an abbey in Belgium, where he encouraged the peasants to drink the beer he brewed for its health benefits; as it turned out, in the process of brewing beer, the water became more pure, which halted or slowed the spread of sometimes lethal diseases, so it was literally a life-saving beverage (but today’s beers also have health benefits, including lowering bad cholesterol and increasing bone density)!
Drink to St. Arnold!
So, during these hot summer months (which, by the way, is the time of year when the most beer is consumed), think about Saint Arnold of Metz or Saint Arnold of Soissons when you’re drinking your beer. Drink to your health, remembering that sometimes, beer really is better for you than plain old boring, disease-ridden water. Drink to the saints who brewed their own beers, and promoted the consumption of the adult beverage we all love so much. Here’s to beer, brewers, and hop-pickers!