Friday, October 29, 2010

Preparing for Martinmas

As we proceed deeper into the Autumn and move towards Advent, we enter a time of the year which seems to be particularly saturated with wonderful customs and traditions associated with the liturgical year. Sometimes we mention these customs on the same day, or at least very near to the day, and occasionally the suggestion is made that it might be helpful if mention was made ahead of time so that one might prepare better.

Last year, this came up in relation to Martinmas, the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, which is on November 11th. One of the traditions associated to this feast is that of the traditional roast goose dinner:

People first went to Mass and observed the rest of the day with games, dances, parades, and a festive dinner, the main feature of the meal being the traditional roast goose (Martin's goose). With the goose dinner they drank "Saint Martin's wine," which was the first lot of wine made from the grapes of the recent harvest. Martinmas was the festival commemorating filled barns and stocked larders, the actual Thanksgiving Day of the Middle Ages. Even today it is still kept in rural sections of Europe, and dinner on Martin's Day would be unthinkable without the golden brown, luscious Martin's goose.

-- Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, p. 270-71

So then, for those of you who would like to observe this day, you might like to source out your goose and its trimmings sooner than later, as Martinmas is now less than two weeks away.

If you do, make certain to take photos of your Martinmas feast to send into us. Indeed, this goes for all of these sorts of customs attached to the liturgical year.

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