Thursday, September 17, 2015

Folklore Thursday: The Virgin Mary gets her period

Today is Folklore Thursday on social media! If you want to find out more, follow this link, or click on the #FolkloreThursday hashtag on Twitter! Hosted by @FolkloreThursday.

Continuing the theme of the Peasant Bible from last week.
Jesus and Saint Peter are not the only biblical characters that get to create things, intentionally or accidentally. A lot of Hungarian tales and folk beliefs feature the Virgin Mary as well. We usually call her Szűzanya (Virgin Mother) or Boldogasszony (Happy Woman) - the latter is probably a remnant of a pre-Christian fertility goddess.
And talking about fertility, here are some nice little snippets about Her:

1. Seven skirts
The Virgin Mother sat down, and it was the time of her period. She was wearing seven skirts, but even the seventh one got soaked through. Women nowadays got as much as the last skirt; the Virgin Mary had seven times more, and never complained anyway. And yet women nowadays complain so much!

(We have all been there, huh.)

2. Flowers
The Virgin Mother sat down by the road, and it was her time of the month. Her blood dripped down, and stained the flowers. There are some flowers that are white with a red dot inside; and also leaves that have brown spots on them. That is all because the Virgin Mary sat on them when she had her period.

(Hygiene products are a blessing, sisters.)

3. Holy Family on the run
An angel appeared to Joseph, telling him that Herod had sent out his soldiers to kill all children under the age of two. Joseph woke his wife, they took the newborn, and ran. It was late at night, and a storm was raging outside; they ran in the wind and the rain until morning, and they were exhausted. The sun came out; Joseph looked around, and noticed a tall, lean apple tree.
"We will rest in the shade and eat some" he said; but when they walked to the tree, it was too tall to reach the apples. But as they were looking up, hungry and desperate, the tree leaned down, lowered itself like the arc of the rainbow, and offered its fruit to the Holy Family.
They rested under the tree. The Virgin Mary cried, for she was exhausted and afraid; her tears turned into the first lilies of the valley. When she went to sleep, she rested her head on a rock; some of her hair put roots down there, and by the morning it turned into feather grass.
They had a little water in a jar. They drank and washed; wherever the water spilled, the dry soil sprouted soft green grass, and a stream was born. The Virgin poured out the bathing water of Baby Jesus; that is how the first forget-me-nots were born.
The babe was washed, but also needed to be changed. The Virgin washed the diapers, and hung them on a dog-rose bush to dry. That is why the dog-rose has such an awful smell.
Both parent were exhausted; the Virgin tied a blue ribbon on her wedding ring, and gave it to the Baby Jesus to play with. The babe played and giggled; suddenly, a bird swooped down, and stole the ring and the ribbon. It dropped it somewhere far away; the ring was under the earth for fifteen hundred years, before someone found it.
But that's another story.

(I added some smaller bits of folklore to this story - the part with the diapers and the forget-me-nots were originally separate pieces. In some versions of the tale, the apple tree is a palm tree - which actually makes more sense)


  1. Love this! I find the Christian myths incredibly interesting. Have you read any of the Canongate Myth series? They're retellings of ancient myths, and they're fantastic. I've recently finished reading Philip Pullman's The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, and I think you'd really enjoy it :)