My Mind

Personal website of M.G. Daniel. Sharing poetry, my writings, snippets from my life and whatever's on my mind.

It’s Twins Day, sort of

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This is a somewhat side note to my previous post. The real event behind Shakespeare’s “we baby-49003_960_720few, we happy few” speech in his Henry V play  took place on October 25, the Christian feast day of  Saints Crispin and Crispinian.

What’s the practice of naming twins in your part of the world? In my birth country names for twins sound a lot like that of the real or possibly mythological  saints Crispin and Crispinian. I had a classmate called Melanius who was not my twin but we have names like Marcus and Malcus; Joanne and Joanna; Petra and Petrus, Ross and Rosen – you get the drift.

I had a dear friend and co-worker from England who found great mirth in these names. She figured the tradition came from the near blanket Roman Catholic coverage of St. Lucia at the time, and the habit of priests having the final say in what the name of infants being baptized would be – almost always something to do with the feast of the saint that fell on the day your baby was born or was being christened. People went home after the baptism and called their children what they intended in the first place, so most St. Lucians have a nom kay (home name), nom batenm (baptismal name) and an ever changing nom savann (literally field name or nicknames your friends/peers give you).

The English and French fought many bloody battles for St. Lucia during the colonial period, with the island exchanging hands 14 times between these two, well, well-known historical warmongers. Finally St. Lucia ended under British ownership, but was left with mainly French names of people and places, almost everybody Catholic like the French were, French fashion, culture and cuisine everywhere and all the slave (and later ex-slave) population speaking a French creole/patois that the English and officialdom pretended not to understand. That went on well into modern times. It was not too long ago that the local magistrates/judges had an official translator to stand between them and people speaking creole, to retell testimony  in English, even though the judiciary spoke perfect creole. The ‘kweyol’ was banned in the local Parliament for a long while after St. Lucia became independent from England…politicians were only allowed to speak to their creole speaking constituents in English.

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Author: M.G. Daniel

I am a lifelong scribbler who is now focusing on poetry and becoming more established as a writer.

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