It has been a tradition to offer a dozen of eggs to the nuns of Santa Clara when one doesn’t want rain to fall on a particular day. How did the practice start?
Dr. Alejandro Roces suspects that the saint’s name inspired it. Clara in Castillian means “a short interval of fair weather on a rainy day.” But why offer eggs? In Spanish, clara pertains to the albumen (egg whites) of the egg. In effect, Claras (egg whites) is being offered to Santa Clara to keep a particular date clara (fair in weather).
Another question is why offer a dozen of eggs. My mother has the simplest explanation –Twelve eggs represents the twelve months of fair weather in a year.
Santa Clara de Asis was a childhood sweetheart of San Francisco de Asis. Upon the death of St. Francis, Clare led an austere life and died a virgin. What an irony when in Obando, Bulacan, Santa Clara has also become the patroness of pregnancy! But that is another story.
Saint Clare founded the Franciscan order of women known as Poor Clares whose local house is the Real Monasterio de Santa Clara, the oldest cloister in the Philippines. The monastery was founded by Sor Geronima dela Asuncion, a relative of the Spanish monarch. In June 16, 1662, the monastery received Royal protection. From then on, the adjective “real” was appended to the monastery’s name.
Rene Javellana described the monastery of the contemplative branch of Franciscan nuns to be a “30-foot windowless wall that cut them from the city. The nunnery was dubbed “living death” because women who entered were never seen again by outsiders. The only sign of their existence were the chants that would waft the monastery chapel during Mass and common prayers.” In Rizal’s Noli me Tangere, the unfortunate and tragic Maria Clara found refuge and met her death in this monastery.”
For over three centuries the Monasterio de Santa Clara was in Intramuros, beside Fort Santiago. The nuns were forced to transfer their convent to Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City since the last war destroyed the Intramuros convent. However, with the construction of the C5 highway, the nuns move to another site near the old Quezon City convent. In this new location, devotees of the “fair weather saint” continue the tradition of offering those twelve “good weather” eggs.