November 11 is known as the Saint Martin’s Day. What customs are observed by Czech people and what can you hear about St. Martin?
There is a famous Czech proverb related to the Feast of St. Martin: Martin přijíždí na bílém koni. (English: Martin is coming on a white horse.) The reason is simple – first half of November is the time when first snow comes to the Czech Republic. And, this year it became true. St. Martin brought the snow even one day earlier!
The typical celebration of St. Martin Day consists of drinking and eating, mainly. :-) One of the traditions is to take a taste of young wine from the recent harvest. It’s the Czech version of Beaujolais nouveau, called Svatomartinské víno. The traditional St. Martin’s dish is a roast goose with red cabagge and dumplings.
This special menu is served in many restaurants across the country. The young wine you can get in wine shops, too, or just join some of the festivals which are taking place across the country.
The first pour of the St. Martin’s wine comes at 11.11am. For example in Brno you can start testing the samples of hundred Czech and Moravian wines on Friday, November 11 at 11 o’clock on náměstí Svobody. Facebook page of the event
Who was St. Martin?
Supposedly, Saint Martin was a kind man with a quiet and simple life. The best known legend about him says that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm to save the beggar from dying from the cold. That night he dreamed that Jesus was wearing the half-cloak. Martin heard Jesus saying to the angels, “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptised; he has clothed me.” St. Martin is one of the major saints of the Catholic Church, known as a friend of children a the patron of the poor. Honoring him with a variety of festivals is common not only in many countries.