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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

11th Nov - Martinmas Goose or watch out for lanterns

On November 11th we do not only celebrate  the opening of Carneval as you may have read in a previous post but also the feast of St. Martin, also known as Martinmas!

St Martin of Tours, born 317, started out as a Roman soldier, was baptized as an adult and became a monk. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The most famous legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of the cold.

And there are 2 nice traditions here in Austria on this and the following days:

1. eating geese

2. children celebrating St Martin and wandering around with self-made lanterns, singing along a very traditional song (see below)

The goose is actually a symbol for St. Martin himself since it is said that a honking goose revealed his hiding place, after he hid to avoid being made bishop of Tours!

So go out to restaurants and ask for the delicious "Martinigansl". You will be more than happy to try out the roasted goose, which comes along with red cabbage and potatoe dumplings. If you are very lucky the goose is even filled with a flavoury mix of chestnuts and bread dumplings. Yummy!

Better to eat it during day than in the evening and definitely add a lot of good red wine!

You will find a lot of excellent reatsurants near our bluedanubeapartment in Vienna. Worth a try is the "Kuchldragoner" in the old part of Vienna city, just a 5min u-bahn drive away from our apartment. Better to book a table and mention that you are keen on the goose! And maybe a last tip: walk home! It's said to be good for the goose in your belly!

And if you are around in the early evening on that day, you probably will encouter kindergarden-children walking around proudly with their self-made lanterns, singing and re-telling the story of St Martin 

Ich geh' mit meiner Laterne und meine Laterne mit mir.
Da oben leuchten die Sterne und unten leuchten wir.
Ein Lichtermeer zu Martins Ehr'! Rabimmel, rabammel, rabumm.

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