Blessing the Throats, St Etheldreda's Church, 14 Ely Place, London EC1 (details, 0171-405 1061).Reuse content
The ceremony of Blessing the Throats takes place in the church of St Etheldreda in London. Etheldreda died of a neck boil in the seventh century, apparently as punishment for wearing flashy necklaces in her youth. Her life and death are celebrated on 3 February, which is also the feast day of St Blaise. He saved a young man from choking to death on a wishbone, and was given food and candles by the boy's mother in gratitude. During the ceremony, sore throat sufferers are blessed by a priest, while two lighted candles joined by a ribbon are placed on either side of the supplicant's neck.