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Someone found my blog today by using the search terms vatican ash wednesday leave ashes on? Here in America a little ashen cross is traced on the forehead on Ash Wednesday. In Europe they sprinkle the ash on your head (like the picture above). Ashen-forehead-crosses are messy and the recipient starts to look like chimney sweep, esp. if they were distributed in the morning. I usually end up somehow getting mine all over the place: in my eyes, on papers, on my shirt, fingers – I am so messy.
In the end, I couldn’t find anything that said it’s wrong with washing the ash off. I usually wait until it no longer resembles a cross – which isn’t long.
. . . and this is how it goes!
Have an amazing weekend! Have adventures, do something exciting, enjoy Labor day! I am going to be doing a whole slough of things, and hopefully I’ll remember to take pictures to share with you!
And all you East Costies that follow tradition, live it up and wear gauzy white and seersucker, for on Monday your summer clothes must retire until next year. Or you can be like me and not live by the rules. . .
I found this list from Evelyn Waugh regarding fan mail on Lists of Note. It made me laugh!
So, one of the top searches that bring people to my blog is the phrase: what to wear in the Vatican. Sounds like there are a lot of people taking trips to the Holy See! I am so jealous! But, then I realized, I know what you are supposed to wear in the Vatican! I can tell you! I lived next to the Vatican walls for three years, and I went into St. Peter’s Basilica every other day!
Women: You may not wear: shorts, mini skirts or skirts that come too far above the knee, sleeveless shirts, or plunging necklines. If you wear any of these things you will not be allowed to enter, or you will be handed a paper dress thing that will ruin any photo of you inside St. Peter’s Basilica. So I suggest that you wear: trousers, skirts or dresses that come to the knee and bring a sweater for your shoulders. If you are wearing a plunging neckline I suggest you button that sweater up. Of if it is too hot for a sweater bring a pashmina shawl, I always kept one in my purse while I lived in Italy. They are lightweight and can cover your shoulders if necessary.
Ladies, if you have the privilege to meet with the Pope, and you are American, please note that you should wear: a dress or suit of a dark color, preferably black. Make sure the skirt of the dress comes to your knees and that your shoulders are covered. You may add a black mantilla, if you would like. White mantillas and dresses are reserved for Catholic monarchs and brides. If you are attending an audience to have your marriage blessed by the Pope you may wear your wedding dress, but remember to bring a shrug if your dress is strapless as your shoulders should be covered. Finally, if you are not American you may either wear what I have suggested or the traditional dress attire of your country. (I always loved seeing the Japanese when they attended papal events, their Kimonos were so lovely.)
Men: You may not wear: shorts, tank tops, or wife beaters. You will not be allowed inside St. Peter’s. You also will be handed a paper gown and you will wear it over your current attire, or sit outside. I suggest you wear: trousers and an Oxford or polo shirt. Wearing athletic socks with dress shoes is also strictly forbidden. (Okay, okay, not really. But it was worth a try. Besides, you’re in Italy, they have amazing haberdashery at your fingertips, why would you resort to athletic socks when something like this is available in a nearby shop?) Also remember that if you are male, your hat needs to come off your head when you walk through the door of any church. Wearing a head covering inside a Catholic church is a privilege only women and members of hierarchy may claim if they so choose.
Gentlemen, if you have the privilege to meet the Pope, and you are American, a dark suit is in order. If you are not American you may either wear what I have suggested or the traditional dress attire of your country.
In case you are one of those people that is always prepared for everything, you should probably have a look at the 2012 Royal Ascot Dress Code. I mean, you never know! You may find yourself last minute packing your bags to go to the races, so you might as well make sure you have an Ascot approved outfit in your closet.
I love it when an event has a strict dress code, it takes all the guesswork out and just leaves the fun.
P.S. Nevermind the date on the picture above, that is for 2008. I just liked the picture. This year it will be June 19-23, 2012. For 2012 information go here.
P.P.S. I can quite easily clear my calendar if anyone has a free ticket and complimentary airfare just lying around. Just in case you thought I would be too busy to go, or something ridiculous like that.
I love hats, I always have always will. In recent times my love of hats has induced me to wear non-sunhat type hats to Mass. I figure if Princess Catherine may so may I.
If you want to learn more about hats, this is a brilliant post on millinery by This is Galmorous. Not only does it cover hat etiquette, but also introduces some of the finest milliners in the world, and, of course, has fantastic pictures.
I think most people don’t wear hats because they feel conspicuous and are afraid of what other people will think. My own rule is this: I have never seen a woman wearing a pretty hat and thought “why on earth is she wearing that?” I usually think, “where did she get that, I want one too!” Perhaps people think that people think the same thing when I wear a hat? And maybe, just maybe, seeing me wear a hat will give them the gumption to wear one themselves.
Tea time is truly a brilliant idea! There is something about having a hot drink in the midafternoon to power you upwards and onwards for the rest of the day. Of course it’s so much better if you can have your break in a cafe in Paris. But a chipped mug from the breakroom and PG Tips works just as well.
Why did we get rid of tea time? And tea parties? Tea sandwhiches anyone? Petit fours?
Lifethegap aslo wrote a brief little post the other day about tea time. Hot drinks are on the mind during this cold season.
The nice thing about being Catholic is that Christmas lasts a long time. Which means I have lots of time to get my Christmas cards out after Christmas Day! Yes, I will dare to wish you a Merry Christmas after December 25!
To my knowledge, casual Friday is a frequent occurrence in most offices, if not every Friday, at least once in a while. At my office, it is an unheard of event. No literally, there are people who have never heard of casual Friday. We hosted a large conference/retreat/convention a short time ago, it was held on a Friday. No dress code was given and a lot of the attendees came wearing nice jeans paired with button down shirts, blazers, cute sweaters, and appropriate shoes. They looked nice, clean, and neat. At one point during the day one of my supervisors pulled me aside and said, “I don’t understand why all these people are wearing jeans.” I looked around, trying to think quickly. How would I break it to her? Moreover, how do I save hundreds of unsuspecting attendees from potential memos regarding their dress? Worse yet, a new policy. I felt a heavy weight settle on my shoulders.”Well,” I started carefully, “in my culture, Friday is sometimes a day when people dress a little more casually.” Did I really just say that? What the heck? In my culture? I mentally slapped my forehead. She is just as American as I! I think I meant generation, but it came out culture.
“Oh,” she said, “so it’s a cultural thing.”
“Um, yes.” I replied. This could work, I’d play the diverse culture card.
“So they are not being disrespectful.”
“Um, no. They weren’t given a dress code. And, as you know, their line of work generally allows them to dress a little more casually anyway. Their supervisors may already have a standing allowance for jeans on Friday, and since this is a Friday, they didn’t even think to dress differently. Also, in light of past events, this particular venue doesn’t have enough seating at lunch, there is the possibility that they might have to sit on the ground at some point. Not the best idea for a suit.”
“Oh. And every Friday is a casual day?”
“In some offices, yes.” She seemed satisfied with my explanation of American culture. Then I crossed my fingers my fingers behind my back and prayed that she would please, please, please suggest at some staff meeting that we have casual Friday someday. It still hasn’t happened. I guess it’s a cultural thing.
I decided that I am going to start posting famous monograms and cyphers (can also be spelled cipher according to my OED). I think they are beautiful and I wish more people would use monograms and cyphers. They are like tiny pieces of art that can be very useful in everyday life.
What is the difference between a monogram and a cypher? A cypher is a person’s initials. A monogram is a person’s initials intertwined in some fashion. Some people use one or the other. Some people use both. Some people (they usually rule countries and what-not) have several for different purposes: public affairs, private affairs, laundry, etc.
For example, this is the official cypher of Queen Elizabeth II of England:
The lettering stands for Elizabeth II–Royal. And if you were still in doubt that this might be a royal cypher, there is a bejeweled crown to help you out.
This is the official monogram of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (she has another for private use):
The lettering here stands for M -Margrethe, 2-II, R-Royal. See how the M is intertwined with the 2 and the R and how it is different from the cypher above? And once again, if your were too daft to get that this is a royal monogram, there is the crown.
Aren’t they neat?