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St Macarius's Day

2 January

The 2nd of January is the Feast Day of St Macarius of Alexandria.

He is the Patron saint of cooks, candy makers and pastry chefs.

He is sometimes referred to as St Macarius the Younger. As well, because of his association with sweets, he is sometimes dubbed St. Macaroon, which might be less irreverent than it seems -- he actually was a bit of a nutter.

Macarius was born in Alexandria sometime in the early 300s. He was a merchant in Alexandria selling sweets -- candies, fruits, pastries. In 335 AD, he became a monk and a hermit, and chose a space to hermit somewhere near Saint Anthony the hermit -- but not too close, of course, or they both would have been disqualified as hermits.

Then he travelled to southern Egypt, where he joined a monastery and consumed only raw vegetables moistened in water and, on special celebration days, a few morsels of bread dunked in oil. He once spent 20 days outside without sleep, to punish himself for killing a bug that was trying to bite him. At one point, he spent six months in a marsh near Scete, to allow insects to bite him to drive every last bit of sexual desire out of him. He achieved his goal, at least in terms of anyone having sexual desire towards him -- he returned to the monastery so deformed that no one recognized him.

He died sometime between 401 and 405 AD.

Some hellions mischievously attribute the invention of macaroons to him, purely on the basis of his name (on that reasoning, one could surmise he also invented macaroni and the Macarena dance.) His attribution as the patron saint of various foods is odd: nowadays, we'd be more likely to call him the Patron Saint of Anorexia.

You can have fun and use today as a reason to have macaroons or the closely related cookies called "amaretti"

Other patron saints of food include St Martha of Bethany (for cooks.)

He is not the same as Saint Macarius the Elder, also from Egypt, whose feast day is on 15th January.

All January food days

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Oulton, Randal. "St Macarius's Day." CooksInfo.com. Published 01 May 2006; revised 31 May 2009. Web. Accessed 03/19/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/st-macariuss-day>.

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