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.