Thursday, November 12, 2009

St. Maarten

november 12 2009

No trick and treat here, but a similar event of children visiting the houses with lights, singing a song and receiving sweets in return.

It's a very old tradition, of pagan nature, when the children would enter the black night during the darkest time of the year and bring the promises of light (and true fire) to all who needed it.

Later the Catholic church incorporated the event in the annual calendar, using the day to mark the beginning of the 40 days fastening before the main event of the year: the arrival of the Three Kings at the manger of the holy child at january 6.

The special day has survived in The Netherlands and a part of Belgium.
It's called St. Maarten after the legend of Martinus/Maarten.

He was born in the year 316 in Hungary.
The emperor made him his knight.

On a midwinter day St. Maarten was traveling on his horse and saw a poor man sitting in the snow without a cape.
St. Maarten stopped, took his sword and divided his own cape in two and gave the unknown man half of it.
His good gesture was always remembered and when he died at november 11 397 people decided they would call the day St. Maartensday, and it became a custom to give children some sweets at that day.

We believe that trich and treat stems from this custom and is brought to america by the first settlers.
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