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sarah h 11-16-2008 06:06 AM

St. Martin's Day Goose?
While November 11 is Remembrance Day in here in Canada, Veteran's Day in the US and Armistice Day (and maybe other names?) in other parts of the world, I discovered recently that it's also St. Martin's Day, celebrated in parts of Europe, apparently, with a goose dinner - something I've been wanting to cook in my WFO.

While I didn't end up cooking a St. Martin's Day goose, I did buy one on that day, so a late 'St. Martin's goose feast' will happen sometime in the hopefully-near future (I am NOT allowed to mess with the turkey tradition for Christmas! :rolleyes:).

Is there anyone out there who celebrates St. Martin's Day? Is it a big celebration anywhere?


Archena 11-16-2008 01:30 PM

Re: St. Martin's Day Goose?
Sorry, not one of my holidays. I've had goose but didn't care for it much (wasn't bad, just too dark) so I'm with whoever said no to Thanksgiving goose. Maybe you can get one in for an early Christmas dinner - goose is a very traditional Christmas dish in Europe.

Just what is celebrated on St. Martin's Day?

sarah h 11-16-2008 03:29 PM

Re: St. Martin's Day Goose?
Here's what Wikipedia tells me:

In Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Austria, children go to houses with paper lanterns and candles, and sing songs about St. Martin in return for treats. Often, a man dressed as St. Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession. In the east part of West-Flanders children receive presents from St. Martin.
In some areas, there is a traditional goose meal. According to legend, Martin was reluctant to become bishop, which is why he hid in a stable filled with geese. The noise made by the geese betrayed his location to the people who were looking for him.
In the United Kingdom, St Martin's Day is known as Martinmas (or sometimes Martlemass). It is one of the term days in Scotland.
Martlemass beef was beef from cattle slaughtered at Martinmas and salted or otherwise preserved for the winter.
In Denmark the day is known as Mortens aften, meaning the night of Morten. Goose was traditionally the meal eaten on the day, however ducks are more commonly eaten today due to cost.
For centuries, Martinmas has been one of the most important and cherished days in the Estonian folk calendar. It remains popular today, especially among young people and the rural population. Martinmas celebrates the end of the agrarian year and the beginning of the winter period.
In Estonia, Martinmas signifies the merging of Western European customs with the local Balto-Finnic pagan traditions, it also contains elements of earlier worship of the dead as well as certain year-end celebration that predate Christianity.
Martinmas actually has two meanings: in the agricultural calendar it marks the beginning of the natural winter, but in the economic calendar it is seen as the end of autumn. Among Estonians, Martinmas also marks the end of the period of All Souls, as well as the autumn period in the Estonian popular calendar when the souls of the ancestors were worshiped that lasted from November 1 to Martinmas.
Martinmas is also known as the celebration that marks the end of field work and the beginning of the harvesting period.
From the late 4th century CE to the late Middle Ages, much of Western Europe, including Great Britain, engaged in a period of fasting beginning on the day after St. Martin's Day. This fast period lasted 40 days, and was, therefore, called "Quadragesima Sancti Martini", which means in Latin "the forty days of St. Martin." At St. Martin's eve, people ate and drank very heartily for a last time before they started to fast. This fasting time was later called "Advent" by the Church.
St. Martin is credited with a prominent role in spreading wine-making throughout the Tourraine region and facilitated the planting of many vines.
Martin Luther was purportedly named after St. Martin, as he was baptized on November 11, 1483.
In Slovenia and Croatia, St. Martin's Day marks the day when the grape must traditionally turns to wine. The must is usually considered impure and sinful, until it is baptised and turned into wine. The baptism is performed by someone who dresses up as a bishop and blesses the wine, this is usually done by the host. Another person is chosen as the godfather of the wine.
The food traditionally eaten on the day is goose.
In Portugal, St. Martin's Day is commonly associated with the celebration of the maturation of the year's wine, being traditionally the first day when the new wine can be tasted. It is celebrated eating roast chestnuts and drinking a local light alcoholic beverage.
In Spain, St. Martin's Day is the traditional day for slaughtering fattened pigs for the winter.
There used to be, and still is in some parts of the Czech Republic, a festival with a roast goose as a feast dish.

Sounds like a fun time in lots of places!

Archena 11-16-2008 06:29 PM

Re: St. Martin's Day Goose?
Hmmm. Sounds interesting but the Advent season doesn't begin for 2 more weeks. Maybe it once was forty days instead of 30 - or it's a Catholic/Protestant difference (or Wiki is {gasp} wrong). I have heard of Michelmas before - it (sorta) begins the Christmas season, I think - but I thought it came before Advent.

Nevermind - I confuse easily...

Frances 11-17-2008 01:11 PM

Re: St. Martin's Day Goose?
Oh hey, we have that here! I never realised it was the same thing when you first posted... but nothing to do with geese that I can tell.

Our kids make little lanterns at school, and after dark on the 11th of November they have a procession round the village, singing autumnal songs - about little lanterns mainly and twinkly stars and things like that. This year we all had a meal together afterwards... still no goose, but there was some wicked pumpkin soup! :)

sarah h 11-18-2008 08:10 PM

Re: St. Martin's Day Goose?
Frances, I had a feeling, given your global coordinates, that you might have something to offer on this subject. Lanterns - that's cool! And pumpkin soup sounds like just the thing at this time of year.


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