Friday, November 12, 2010

San Martin / St. Martin

St. Martin's Day (Jum San Martin in Maltese) is celebrated in Malta on the Sunday nearest to November 11. Children are given a bag full of fruits and sweets associated with the feast, known by the Maltese as Il-Borża ta' San Martin, "St Martin's bag". This bag includes St. Martin's Bread (Ħobża ta' San Martin), walnuts (ġewż), hazel-nuts (qastan), almonds (lewż), chestnuts (ġellewż), figs (tin), oranges (larinġ), tangerines (mandolin), apples (tuffieħ), pomegranates (rummien) amongst other things. There is a traditional rhyme associated with this custom:

Ġewż, Lewż, Qastan, Tin
Kemm inħobbu lil San Martin.

(Walnuts, Almonds, Chestnuts, Figs
I love Saint Martin so much.)

A feast is celebrated in the village of Baħrija on the outskirts of Rabat (Malta), including a procession led by the statue of St. Martin. There is also a fair, and a show for local animals. San Anton School, a private school on the island, organises a walk to and from a cave especially associated with St Martin in remembrance of the day.

Several places in Malta are named after this saint, including San Martin on the outskirts of St. Paul's Bay, and Ġebel San Martin outside of Żejtun.


Regina K said...

Very interesting history. Greetings from Kansas City, MIssouri

Alifan said...

Hello Dina I still love your blog, so nice to be reminded of Malta on a daily basis, seems a long time since 1959 when we came home from there, but always remembered with love.

Rosanne Dingli said...

My mum used to sew us special draw-string cloth bags for San Martin. She would then spend hours cracking our hazelnuts, and swapping her figs for walnuts which she loved. We could never figure out what to do with the Brazil nuts.
The chapel of San Martin is a place I remember, but I can't remember its location.

Juniper said...

I like this little feast, next year I know which village to go to - thank you. Just made the St. martins day cake today (am late but can't stand to skip it)I love the way it makes the house smell when it's cooking and it's such a healthy sweet treat!

Lalique said...

Hi there
visiting you from Turkey
nice day

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