| St. Martin’s Day (Féill Mhartainn), also known as the Feast of St. Martin or Martinmas, is a time for feasting and celebrations usually held in November on the 11th day. In some countries celebrations would begin at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of this eleventh day of the eleventh month. Bonfires are built and children would carry lanterns after dark singing songs for which they were rewarded with candy.
Martin was born around 316 of pagan parents. His father was a Roman Military officer in Pavia, Italy. At the age of fifteen Martin joined the Roman Army and was sent to Amiens. On a winter day while traveling on horseback in a snowstorm he saw a poor beggar at the gate of the city of Amiens. Martin had no money to give, but he divided his cloak in half and gave half to the poor beggar.
In a dream that night, Martin saw Jesus wearing the half-cloak. He had for some time considered becoming a Christian, and this ended his wavering and he was promptly baptized. At around 20 years of age Martin helped in repelling the Teutons who invaded Gaul. After receiving his reward from Emperor Julian, he asked to be released from the army, saying: “Hitherto I have faithfully served Caesar. Let me now serve Christ.”
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