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St Martin of Tours (Comper) | by Lawrence OP
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St Martin of Tours (Comper)

St. Martin's feast (11 November), also known as "Martinmas" in Europe arrives in autumn, the beginning of the wine harvest. This was also the time of slaughter of the stock for winter meat. His images are usually depicted with a goose, symbolizing that Martinmas was the last festive meal before Advent, because in France in the Middle Ages, the strict 40 day Advent fast (called Quadragesima Sancti Martini or Forty Days' Fast of Saint Martin's) began the next day. So in past centuries November 11 was celebrated as a thanksgiving day. Thus it was the custom to have "St. Martin's goose" and taste the new wine ("Saint Martin's Wine") on his feast day. A quick spell of warm weather around his feast day (usually termed "Indian Summer" in the US) is known as "St. Martin's Little Summer" in Europe.

 

This stained glass window of the saint, shown cutting his cloak in half to share it with a beggar, is from the west window of St Alban's Cathedral and was designed by Sir Ninian Comper.

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Taken on February 21, 2009