In most parts of the world, the 11th of November is known for the start of the carnival season. But in Austria this date also marks another popular event: the memory of Saint Martin.


According to legend, one cold night Martin met a beggar who was freezing. Without hesitating he cut his cloak in half to share it with the beggar to save him from dying from the cold. That night he had a vision of Jesus, who told Martin that the beggar was him and so Martin got baptized.

Österreichisches Brauchtum & Traditionen: Der Martinitag

Martini Goose

10 years later, Martin was ordained bishop. When he tried to flee from this responsibility, he hid in a goose pen. But he was betrayed by the cackling of the geese. Geese play a role in today’s festivities, although a slightly different one: it’s custom to serve roast goose to friends and family.

Österreichisches Brauchtum & Traditionen: Der Martinitag

Lantern Parade

In kindergarden and primary schools all over the country, lantern parades take place on the 11th of November. Children make their own lanterns and walk through the streets singing songs. The most popular song is „Ich gehe mit meiner Laterne“, which can be translated to „I am walking with my lantern…“.

Is there a similar custom in your country?