St. Blaise was bishop of Sebaste in Cappadocia, and was martyred by beheading about A.D. 316. One legend recounts that Blaise met a poor woman whose only pig had been snatched up in the fangs of a wolf but at the command of the bishop the wolf restored the pig alive to its owner. The woman did not forget the favor, for later, when the bishop was languishing in prison, she brought him tapers to dispel the darkness and gloom. To this story may be attributed the practice of using lighted candles in bestowing the blessing of St. Blaise. While in prison he performed a wonderful cure on a boy who had a fishbone lodged in his throat and who was in danger of choking to death. From this account we have the longtime custom of invoking the Saint for all kinds of throat trouble.
After blessing the candles on the feast of St. Blaise, the priest holds two candles fastened like a cross to the throat of the person kneeling before him, and says:
Per intercessionem Sancti Blasii, episcopi et martyris,
liberet te Deus a malo gutturis, et a quolibet alio malo.
In nomine Patris, et Filii ♱, et Spiritus Sancti.
By the intercession of St Blaise, bishop and martyr,
may God deliver you from every malady of the throat, and from every possible mishap.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son ♱, and of the Holy Spirit.