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Tomorrow is Saint Martin’s Day, and tonight is therefore Saint Martin’s Eve. In Danish the day is called “Mortensaften” (Morten’s Eve; Morten being a Danish form of the name Martin). The day (and eve) is named after Saint Martin of Tours, a Catholic saint who lived in the fourth century AD.

According to legend, Martin was a pious and rather shy person. When the old Bishop died, the people selected Martin for their new Bishop, much to his discomfiture. He tried hiding himself in a stable full of geese, but this scared the birds and their cackling gave him away. Thus he was caught and made Bishop against his will. For revenge he ordered the people to eat goose on the last day before the Quadragesima, a 40-day fasting period – which is November 11.


Hide not with me, for I shall make a racket and give you away! 😉

Today, goose is still traditional food on Saint Martin’s Eve in Denmark, though many people substitute with duck (as will I, tonight;)). In some Catholic countries the evening is celebrated with paper lantern processions.