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St. Martin's Day

St. Martin's Day Feast

St. Martin’s Day celebrates St. Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who became a monk later in life. This day was once the last day before a fast that lasted until Christmas, so enjoying food before the fast became the most important tradition on St. Martin’s Day. People enjoy meals together as a family in give thanks to God for providing them with this food, so it is much more like American Thanksgiving than like pre-lent Carnival, which focuses on excess prior to fasting. The traditional meat served on this day is goose, as the goose is a symbol of St. Martin. Duck and chicken are also commonly served, as goose was once too expensive for most families to buy. Bonfires and lanterns are also common symbols on St. Martin’s day. People light bonfires at night, and the children participate in a lantern processional where they are often given sweets or gifts as they walk through town carrying lanterns.