Ancient traditions continue

Argentina
Published:  26 October, 2015

Given the immense history that the leather industry has throughout the world and its importance in so many aspects of everyday life it is not surprising that in many instances it continues to retain both cultural and religious significance.

A typical example is Argentina where “Tanner’s Day” is celebrated every October 28. Given that the current Pope is from Argentina, a strongly Catholic country, it is not surprising that this day honours the memory of the Apostle St. Simon. The Book of Acts, in the New Testament, identifies Simon as a tanner when Peter stayed with him in the City of Joppa.

After Simon was called to spread the word of God he was the one who, according to oral tradition, found the skin of the donkey Jesus had used for transport miraculously tanned some time after it had died. The hide had been tanned with “oak juice”.

The status of the leather industry did vary around the world. Generally speaking, tanners in Europe were quite highly thought of and held in reasonable esteem, whereas those in places such as Japan and India got defined as “low caste”.

In cities such as Córdoba in Spain it is odd that we can find no “leather day” given the huge advances made in many types of leather making of five centuries of Muslim rule, where they were able to pull together the best strands of Middle Eastern, North African, Greek and Roman technology and management mix it with the best of Europe.

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