Blessing of the throats on St. Blaise’s day, February 3, at St. Etheldreda’s in London (probably the only pre-Reformation church in England restored to Catholicism). St. Etheldreda is the patron saint of throat complaints. I haven’t actually got a sore throat, but perhaps this is why:
Blessing of the Throats, London
Though not strictly a folk custom, the annual Blessing of the Throats service at London’s St Etheldreda’s church in Ely Place is quirky enough to figure in any list of strange British customs.
St Etheldreda’s is the second oldest Catholic church in England, returned to Catholic use in the 19th century. It is here that on February 3, St Blaise’s day, a ceremony is held to ask for that saint’s help in treating those with throat problems. Blaise, a 4th century doctor in Armenia who became bishop of his home city Sebaste, saved the life of a small child with a fish bone stuck in his throat as the saint was being led off to be tortured for his faith.
Meanwhile, in Wolfsburg:
Blasius-Segen gegen Halserkrankung, wird erteilt am Dienstag, 3. Februar, um 18 Uhr. (St. Christophorus)
Wikipedia says Etheldreda’s real name was Æthelthryth.
(Via Baroque in Hackney)