November 11th, 2008

Fishy Circumstances

La festa di S. Martino

S. Martino Cookie


Today is Saint Martin's Day, a day of a soldier's sacrifice, although a rather different one than those commemorated by Armistice Day. Martin was a Roman soldier from Hungary, who, pitying a roadside beggar near Amiens, cut his cloak into two pieces with his sword and gave the beggar one of them. Later, he realized in a vision that he had given his (half) cloak to Christ, and converted to Christianity.

Traditionally, in many parts of Europe, this is the beginning of winter. It's a feast day in preparation of a pre-Christmas fasting period, a day for celebrating the harvest, eating goose, and drinking wine.

The Venetian tradition is to buy and eat cookies in the shape of Saint Martin - San Martino. This is one. My parents brought it to me this past week as a seasonal gift. Can you make out the Roman soldier with helmet on horseback underneath all that frosting and candy?