This is the feast day of St Luke, a doctor by profession and the writer of the third gospel of the New Testament (and quite possibly, the Acts of the Apostles). He is the patron saint of many professions – physicians and surgeons (for obvious reasons), as well as artists and butchers. His symbol is a horned ox or bull. In art, Luke is represented by a winged ox because he begins his gospel with an account of the priest, Zachary (Zechariah), sacrificing in the temple. The ox represents Christ’s sacrifice.
St Luke’s Day is supposed to be a good time to choose a spouse and various rituals are prescribed for young women who wish to dream of their future husband. It is also formerly the date of the Charlton Horn Fair, held in London until 1872. On sale at the fair were horns of every description, merchandise made of horn and figures bearing horns. All the visitors to the fair wore or carried horns and all the stalls were decorated with horns. The link with horns is of uncertain origin – they may be the horns of the cuckold (according to a popular legend concerning King John and a miller’s wife) or the horns of St Luke’s ox.
So, don’t hold back on St Luke’s Day ladies – get out there and choose your spouse. Choose wisely though, won’t you?!
[Did you know, that there are three birth references on FreeBMD to people with the name St Luke? Born in JQ1845 in Stepney RD is St Luke Dixon, St Luke Salinger in SQ1851 in St Giles RD and St Luke Spencer in DQ1900 in Mile End RD, but only the latter could actually have been born on St Luke’s Day of course!]