Sunday, July 29, 2012

Our First Annual Saint Anne’s Liturgical Tea: A GFCF Plant-Strong Celebration

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When I was born, my parents decided that my “saint name” would be Anne, even if my first name was different. Well, lo and behold, when I began listing dates for celebrating our family’s Name Days, I realized that St. Anne’s feast day was coming up fast! So, I scoured the Internet for some initial ideas and, then, asked our children for theirs. Just days later, we found ourselves enjoying our first annual St. Anne’s Liturgical Tea.


Since St. Anne is traditionally depicted wearing red dress (for love) and green mantle (for rebirth or immortality), we used these colors as the inspiration for our table decor, which included both red and green candles and an Immaculate Heart of Mary candle that Nina had spied at the grocery store one day and had requested we purchase for whenever we celebrate days related to Mary. (The kids said St. Anne is Mary’s mother so we should use the candle.)

We also printed a painting of St Anne and young Mary offline and set it up in a frame and used a St. Anne’ s construction that Luke designed and his sibling helped him make as a centerpiece, with the help of miniaturized printouts of Paper Dali's wonderful St. Anne, St. Joachim, Young Mary and Shepherd paper dolls.

Teatime Fare

Because St. Anne’s feast day fell on a weekday this year, our only options for celebrating it as a family were a breakfast tea with Daddy before work or a dinner one with him after. We opted for the latter, so we knew we had to come up with a fairly substantial selection of items for the menu.

We also had some other menu guidelines:
  •  Foods should be somehow connected to St. Anne or to historical traditions for celebrating her feast day. 
  • All foods should be able to be prepared within a few hours of the tea since our schedule would not allow any further advanced preparation.
  • The overall menu should be plant strong, plus, GFCF and as additive, preservative and dye-free diet as we could manage. 
  • Menu items should be festive tea fair – finger foods, small bites, dainty or eye-pleasing. 

I must say, the kids easily helped me to come up with a menu that met these parameters and was pleasing to all our palettes:
  • Ham and Cucumber Mini-Kebabs (for St. Anne’s red and green colors) 
  • Berry-Grape-Kiwi Mini-Kebabs (again, the colors; plus, plant-strong) Red Potato and Spinach Salad (more St. Anne colored food) 
  • Salmon on GFCF Crackers (seafood because St. Anne’s day is often traditionally celebrated with seafood on GFCF crackers to remind us of St. Ann’s grandson, Jesus – think “Bread of Life”)
  • Fresh-Picked Pepper-and-Tomato on Buttered GFCF Crackers (the plant-strong, color, bread of Life theme again)
  • Nut Butter on GFCF Bread Sandwiches (for more protein at the table, by request of the kiddoes)
  • Cucumber-Basil-Tomato Sandwiches (the red and green theme, plus cucumber sandwiches always remind me of afternoon tea)
  • Cherries (plant strong an red)
  • Fresh Watermelon-Lemon Juice (you got it, the plant-strong St. Anne color inspiration again)
  • GFCF Chocolate Cake St. Anne’s Home Model (designed by Luke to include St. Anne’s home, St. Anne herself and the bird’s nest St. Anne prayed near)

Although I had bookmarked many prayers online, the children requested that we make up a prayer and then pray the “Hail Mary”, because, as Luke reminded, “St. Anne is Mary’s mother.” I also read the Patron Saint prayer from Prayers to the Saints.


Simple is best, right? Especially when a Liturgical Tea is celebrated shortly before bedtime. Thus, our activities included colored Waltzing Matilda’s St. Anne page to add to our Saints Day books...

...and reading the Saint Anne chapter of Story Library of the Saints as well as Mary and Young Mary of Nazareth , which both begin with parts of St. Anne’s story.

From initial planning, through preparation, through “partying”, our first annual St. Anne’s Liturgical Tea was a fruitful experience. I learned a few new things when browsing the internet and consulting some favorite Catholic traditions books. The children impressed me, first, with how much they already knew about St. Anne from prior discussions and read alouds about Mother Mary and, then, through how they literally constructed new learning as we prepared for the tea. Finally, we all enjoyed the food and family fellowship at dinner.

Yep. I think we are off to a good start for a year of Name Day tradition making and hope that by sharing our ideas, we might inspire others to enjoy similar Name Day festivities or Liturgical Teas.

Looking ahead for us, your ideas, links and recipes for St. Micheal, St. Luke, St. Nino (Nina) and St. John (Jack) are most welcome! Please share them! 



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