Saturday, 5 November 2011

Saint Martin – Who was he?

The annual Saint Martin fayre took place today in Cluny. The whole town and half the population of Burgundy seems to turn out for this event judging by the crowds. Of course any Saturday in Cluny starts with the game of finding a parking space and as you can imagine it was even more of a nightmare than usual this morning, to add to the chaos the ENSAM had decided to have an open day as well, so it was difficult to find a square inch free let alone room for our car. But being the good girl I have become (since the parking ticket incident this summer) we decided to pay for a parking space. After waiting a while for a paid space to come free we parked and then went to pay. I put my 20 cent coin in the machine and the machine ate it and refused to give me a ticket. Being an engineer and being very au-fait with this type of delicate electronic equipment, I thumped the side of the machine and it gave me a 10 cent coin in return….. Back to the car and we put our pre-printed “the ticket machine is not working” sticker in the window of the car and went to join the fun anyway.

At the top of town there is an old animal market place which is used once in the year to display and trade in horses and some cattle. There were some beautiful carthorses on display when we got there and we enjoyed ourselves wandering around looking at the animals and sampling the local farmers’ produce on display everywhere. The whole main street is turned into one huge market, that combined with the weekly market in the market square and a “vide grenier” (car boot sale) at the other end of town, meant that Cluny was heaving with people.

Anyway, it got me to wondering who Saint Martin was. These things are usually not too difficult to find out, but it does appear that Martin is quite a popular name amongst the saintly community particularly in the month of November. I ruled out all non-November Saint Martins and I was left with, saint Martins for 3rd, 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 18th and 27th November. The most popular of these (ie the ones with Wikipedia articles) were for:

Saint St Martin de Porres 3rd November, patron saint of barbers, mixed-race people and all those seeking interracial harmony (pictured on the left) and

St Martin of Tours 11th patron saint of soldiers (pictured on the right).

So you pays your money and you takes your choice, I haven’t a clue who’s day we were celebrating !

1 comment:

  1. It might have been worth to ask a heathen...
    I seemed to remember that in some parts of the Netherlands St. Martin (or Sint Maarten) was celebrated amongst others by children carrying lanterns, somewehere in November.
    I also seemed to remember that Saint Martin cut his coat in two to give half of it to share it with a poor beggar.
    Looking for Sint Maarten in Wikipedia NL gave me a first clue:
    And then going to the English equivalent gave me this:
    Memories are made of this...
    Long live Martin of Tours!


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