How does one celebrate the birthday of a Saint? In New Orleans, we celebrate it with a parade...and candles...and King cake "as" birthday cake since our unofficial patron saint of New Orleans, Joan of Arc, happens to have been born on the start date of Mardi Gras: Twelfth Night!
It was a significant decision to celebrate Joan's birthday rather than her "feast day", aka the day of her death, which is when the Church celebrates and honors her--and most Saints. The day a Saint died and went to heaven is apparently a more important day than when this same mere human was born into the world..to eventually become a Saint...
But if you know anything about the miracle of birth (I mean to say: if you have ever been born...) and if you take a moment to think about just how amazing it is to be born at all, and to live in this world, it's, in my opinion, something definitely worth celebrating!
The fact that a human as remarkable and influential as Joan of Arc was born at all is a fact to be celebrated. And the fact that 600 years later, we still honor her, adore her, study her, talk about her, reference her, and celebrate her...that is remarkable. Who among us can imagine be remembered around the world in 600 years? Who among us would be known on a first name basis and noted in everything from pop records to public statues?
A girl of 19 who died for her country and her god is an inspiration to us all and deserves annual recognition...but how truly wonderful that on this very notable day, the 600th year since her birth, the entire world is taking note.
However, here in New Orleans, every January 6th, be it her 597th birthday (the year I founded the parade) to her 697th birthday, we have and will treat Joan's birthday with significance, love,
honor, and a special party, New Orleans' style!
Come celebrate with us...bring your own king cake and share it with others, toast our Maid of Honor and King, walk in the French Quarter and relish the start of Mardi Gras as we reflect on the start of Joan's life. www.joanofarcparade.com.
Joan, we are glad you were born. We are sorry you died so young...but oh, we are so glad you lived at all!