St. Martin’s Day: Who was Saint Martin? Why is Martinmas celebrated?

St. Martin’s Day, otherwise called the Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, the Feast of St. Martin of Tours or Martin le Miséricordieux, Funeral of Saint Martin, as well as Old Halloween and Old Hallowmas Eve, is a time for feasting celebrations every year on November 11.

It is dedicated to St. Martin of Tours and celebrates modesty and altruism – the two values ordinarily connected with the Saint. As the holiday was traditionally followed by a fast that went on until Christmas, numerous traditions on St. Martin’s Day center on food.

The feast was generally observed as the favored time for the butchering of “Martinmas beef” from prime, fattened cattle, geese, other livestock, and the closure of the work of autumn time wheat seeding (sowing). Hiring fairs were more bountiful than expected, where farmworkers could pick, or others had, to look for new posts.

Saint Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier who was baptized as an adult and became a bishop in a French town. The most outstanding of his saintly acts was he had sliced his shroud down the middle to share with a beggar during a blizzard, to save him from the cold as then that night, he dreamt of Jesus, wearing the half-cloak and saying to the angels, “here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is now baptized; he has clothed me.” Saint Martin passed on November 8, 397, and was buried three days after the fact.

This is when autumn wheat seeding was finished, and the annual slaughter of fattened cattle created “Martinmas beef”. Historically, hiring fairs were held where farmworkers would look for new posts.

November 11 is the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, who began as a Roman soldier. He was baptized as a grown-up and turned into a priest. It is perceived that he was a kind man who led a calm and basic life. The most celebrated legend of his life is that he once cut his shroud down the middle to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying from the cold.

St. Martin was known as the friend of the children and patron of poor people. This holiday started in France, at that point spread to Germany, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. It praises the finish of the agrarian year and the start of harvesting. This fast period lasted 40 days, and was consequently, called “Quadragesima Sancti Martini”, Latin for “the forty days of St. Martin.

The goose became a symbol of St. Martin of Tours in light of a legend that when attempting to try not to be appointed bishop he had covered up in a goose pen, where he was betrayed by the cackling of the geese. Saint Martin’s feast day falls in November when geese are prepared for killing. It was a significant medieval autumn feast, and the custom of eating goose spread to Sweden from France.

Even though no notice of Saint Martin’s association with viticulture is made by Gregory of Tours or other early hagiographers, he is regardless credited with a prominent role in spreading wine-production all through the Touraine region and encouraging the planting of numerous vines. The Greek myth that Aristaeus first found the idea of pruning the vines after viewing a goat eat some of the foliage has been appropriated to Martin. Martin is additionally credited with presenting the Chenin blanc grape varietal, from which the majority of the white wine of western Touraine and Anjou is made.

Martinmas really has two meanings: in the agricultural calendar it denotes the start of the natural winter, however in the economic calendar it is viewed as the finish of autumn. The feast agrees with the finish of the Octave of All Saints as well as with harvest-time when recently produced wine is prepared for drinking, and the finish of winter arrangements, including the butchering of animals.

In certain nations, Martinmas celebrations start at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of this eleventh day of the eleventh month (that is, at 11:11 am on November 11). In others, the festivities begin on St. Martin’s Eve (that is, on November 10). Bonfires are built and children carry lanterns in the roads after dark, singing songs for which they are rewarded with candy. Celebrations around the world:

  • Austria – Martinloben
  • Denmark – Mortensaften
  • Estonia – Martinmas
  • Germany – St. Martin’s eve, called “Martinsfeuer” and St. Martin’s goose or “Martinsgans”
  • Latvia – Mārtiņi (Martin’s)
  • Malta – Il-Borża ta’ San Martin, “St. Martin’s bag”
  • Poland – “Rogal świętomarciński” or Martin Croissants or St. Martin Croissants
  • Portugal – St. Martin’s Day
  • Slovenia, Croatia – Martinovanje, Martinje

What precisely are we celebrating?

Martinstag is named after St. Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who became a priest after being baptized as an adult. He was inevitably made a saint by the Catholic Church for being a kind man who cut his shroud down the middle to share with a beggar during a snowstorm.

What do the lanterns mean?

In numerous parts of Germany, it is traditional for children to take an interest in a parade of paper lanterns in recognition of Saint Martin. They make their own little lanterns in school or kindergarten and afterward assemble on city roads to sing songs about old fashioned Marty and their lanterns. Frequently a man dressed as St. Martin with a long red cloak leads the parade on horseback.

So this is really a big deal then?

It’s officially a Catholic holiday, yet in recent years the lantern parades have become widespread even in Protestant territories of Germany. So like Santa Claus has little to do with the birth of Christ, nowadays St. Martin Day’s is most likely better known for the radiant parade than the saintly history.

So what do you do on Saint Martin’s Day?

Typically, if you have children, you’ll presumably spend the evening outside with a lot of different parents and their children. In 2020, these processions won’t happen all through the majority of Germany, however individuals are being encouraged to discover elective approaches to celebrate the holiday, for example, showing lit-up lanterns in their windows.

You’ll be busy relighting the tea candles in those fiddly little lanterns with cold, stiff fingers, and getting dry children’s tears because, as upsetting it is for the children, paper lanterns lit by candles will in general burst into flames rapidly.

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