Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Who was St Juttemis?

St Juttemis in Breda
The city of Breda, Netherlands in 2007 when I came statue of St. Juttemis. I was intrigued by the statue and found the local tourist office, just 200 metres away knew nothing about the saint.

Most of the information Mr Google, revealed about him is in Dutch and that he was a fictional saint. To say something would happen on St. Juttemis' day meant it would never happen.

Apparently the saint had been adopted (as a patron?) by the carnival community who descend on Breda every year. It is not clear why the carnival crowd would adopted a fictional saint and why his day was associated with “never”.

Oncyclopedia gives a story of his life that should be true, even though it is probably not.

St Juttemis was a Jutlander, married to a farmer's daughter called Jut, one day he saw a vision of Sophia, who showed him the world was absurd and only made God laugh. Since people had forgotten this fundamental absurdity the was ordered to go forth and spread the word.

His message was received with ridicule and scorn. Especially since he had a sullen and irritable character and could not appreciate a joke. One day be came to a fair and began to rant and rage and destroy with a heavy hammer, that someone had left there. But he fell and got the hammer on his head so that he died. At the same time a bell sounded and all fair goers converted to Sophiasme. They saw their wicked ways and devoted their lives to furthering foolishness. As a tribute every fairground now has a device, which strikes a bell with a hammer to announce the Jutmis.

In 1009 Jutter Hypocritus XVI was canonized by Pope, and one day (February 30) of the year was dedicated to him. On this day the St. Jutte Fair was the main attraction.

In the course of time, however, St. Jutte became so popular that the most extreme forms Sophia Sten threatened the Catholic Church and so Pope III Paedofilius moved his feast to February 29 So so it was only once in four years. When that did not to help it was moved to February 30, which, as everyone knows occurs once every 70 years, and then only if the pigs have wings and the sky is falling, so we all wear blue hats.

With St. Juttemis

all people pay their debts,
politicians do what they promised,
teachers are reasonable,
Industrialists do something for the environment.

More prosaically Wikipedia states that Jutte is a short form of Judith and that saint has her day on August 17th and that St Juttemis is mentioned in the Kroniek van Roermond. This appears to be a real series of Chronicles but I have not been able to find the original quote in the chronicle via Google, though there are plenty of references to it. The full form apparently is

“met sint-juttemis, als de kalveren op het ijs dansen”
“on the day of st Juttemis when calves dance on the ice”

Moving Northwards to Scandinavia we find four such saintsaccording to

Juttemis may or may not have existed and may or may not have been female. I have not found any good reason why his (for simplicity) day should be associated with “never” or why the carnival commnity have adopted him. The only story I found that explains everything about him is on Oncyclopedia, a site that declares itself content free and so the story could be made up. I am left with a statue that definitely exists, a load of articles in Dutch citing a real chronicle but have found no transcription of the original citation and know no one in the carnival community.

Perhaps Juttemis' story is an urban legend that took root in Dutch culture like Father Christmas (the Medieval one, who, unlike Santa Claus seems to have been the model for Dickens' Christmas

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