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The goose is loose!

The goose is loose!

  • Sure, the western world has the turkey as their celebratory bird, but we have the goose! Allow me to elaborate.
  • We celebrate one of the most popular saints of the medieval era, Saint Martin, on November 11th.

Sure, the western world has the turkey as their celebratory bird, but we have the goose! Allow me to elaborate.
We celebrate one of the most popular saints of the medieval era, Saint Martin, on November 11th.

Our protagonist, Martin, born around 317 A.D. was apparently famous for his generosity and good will from a young age – he helped those in need and as such, the love of the people around him culminated into wanting to name him bishop.

However, Martin did not like this idea, and hid in a goose hutch. Unlucky for him, the geese gave him away with their loud gobbly noises (I don’t know what sound geese make), and thus, Martin could not escape his fate and was named bishop, and somewhat later, saint.

The end of the harvest season

This time of year also marks the end of the harvest season when workers received their wages (along with a nice, fat goose), as well as the beginning of the fast, and the Advent period.

If I would fast, I would definitely have a big pow-wow beforehand too, so it’s no surprise that a big Saint Martin Day feast was held on this day, before the Advent fasting began.

Legend has it that the fancier the feast, the more abundant next year’s crops would be. The aforementioned geese were consumed, along with the new wine. If I were a goose, I would think twice before betraying young men hiding from bishopship. Just saying.

Other livestock had it coming too, as they were beaten by their owners with so-called Martin twigs (gifted to them by the farmers) to ensure that next year’s reproduction was plentiful. I know, cruel old times.

 

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Food-related lores

While I’m nothing less than a fan of a feast, this celebration is rich with food-related lore, so I have no choice but to give you a list because you know, lists are awesome.

  • If you get drunk on new wine, the new year is going to be a happy one. See? No one gets to call you an alcoholic on November 11th!
  • If you consume carrots on Saint Martin’s Day, you increase the chances of bedwetting.
  • If you leave goose meat off your menu, you might go hungry the entire coming year.
  • When you pick the goose meat off the bones – because of course you’re going to play with your food -, if the sternum (which is a fancy word for the breastbone) is white, the winter will be snowy, but if it’s brown, it’s gon’ rain.

I’m guessing the wine is to be blamed for the mixed and somewhat conflicting superstitions when it comes to weather predictions. I wanted to give you some and let you pick whichever one suits you as it is my firm belief that that’s the way weather people do it too.

But truly, all of them say something different so if you listen to me, you’ll look out the window every morning and dress responsibly, in layers, like your mama taught you.

Some places still have a Saint Martin’s Day parade with lanterns which I’m guessing must be very cozy, but I’m always cold so I’d be happy to watch one of these from my window, thank you very much.

As with any kind of celebration, you know, eat, drink, be merry and share your goose recipes with those of us who lack the relevant experience. Thanks!

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