Today, we mostly celebrate the feast and the new wine, but November 11th was a special day in the lives of our ancestors. St. Martin’s Day was also about accounting, weather forecast, and looking into the future.

Who was St. Martin?

Bishop Martin was born in the 4th century in Savaria, today's Szombathely. There are several legends about his goodwill, helpfulness, and miracles, and his missionary work was also important. According to a story, he opposed to being elected to become the bishop of Tours in France, so he hid in a goose shed, but the geese betrayed him with their gaggling. He is honoured as the patron saint of Hungary and is considered one of the most popular saints in Europe.

Martin's day feast

The origins of the feast date back to Roman times, in November a feast was made from the new harvest, at which time new wine was also tasted. Stuffed geese were processed for the last holiday before the 40-day fasting period before Christmas, hence the popularity of goose dishes.

Weather forecast for St. Martin's Day

The feast of the bishop was also a day of forbidding in addition to the accounting, and farmers also tried to draw conclusions for the period ahead of them based on their former observations. According to popular belief, if Martin comes on a white horse, the winter will be mild - that is, if it snows on November 11, no hard frosts will be expected later. According to another observation, the weather in March is reflected by the weather of this day. It was also predicted from the sternum of the goose eaten during the feast: if it was a brown and short bone, it was going to be a muddy winter, or if the bone was long, then we are facing a snowy winter.

Live traditions

Traditions around St. Martin's Day were mainly related to the everyday life of those living from agriculture and shepherding - this being the time of payment. However, the Martin's Day parade is also known in our region. With the torchlight procession of German origin, the light symbolizing good deeds was delivered to the population.

A tour also preserves his memory

Although the weather is less favorable on St. Martin's Day for long walks, the bishop's name and his travels, referred to as Via Sancti Martini are also worth mentioning throughout the year. The route between Szombathely in Hungary and Tours in France has been a European Cultural Route since 2005, presenting the life of St. Martin, considered the most popular saint in Europe.



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