What a good date – 11.11.11 – for a feast. Today is St. Martin’s Day, November 11. Traditionally, the feast coincides with harvest-time, the time when newly-produced wine is ready for drinking and winter preparations, including the butchering of animals, have been completed. St. Martin’s Feast is akin to the American Thanksgiving, except instead of a turkey a goose is the main attraction of the celebration. The goose is a symbol for St. Martin himself. It is said that when he was hiding from the people who wanted to make him bishop, a honking goose gave away his hiding place.
However, here in Germany St. Martin’s Day is no way near as prominent as Thanksgiving – actually it isn’t even an official holiday and not everyone goes to the trouble of roasting a goose, either. A tradition that has been carried over and what you will see if you go out after dark are children walking through the streets carrying paper lanterns and singing songs about St. Martin.