It’s time to enjoy roasted chestnuts and jeropiga in honour of Saint Martin de Tours! Get yourself some chestnuts and make the most of the ‘Summer of São Martinho’!
Born into a pagan family, Saint Martin de Tours was a Roman soldier who later became a bishop and a saint, famous for his miracles. Told and retold over generations, on a cold winter stormy night, Saint Martin encountered a freezing homeless man who asked him for alms. With nothing else to give him, the knight removed the cloak from his back, cut it in half with his sword, and gave it to the vagabond. Legend says that, at that moment, the storm disappeared, and a radiant sun began to shine, the ‘Summer of São Martinho’. Over the years the 11th of November, São Martinho’s Day, is generally marked by warm sunny weather so get ready to enjoy a ‘Summer of São Martinho’ weekend!
He was one of the first non-martyr saints and his popularity remains substantial, being celebrated around the world. While in some countries the tradition is to eat zeppole or baptizing grapes, in Portugal we celebrate Saint Martin by enjoying roasted chestnuts and drinking jeropiga, a mix of the local firewater and grape must.
São Martinho’s Day is celebrated in Portugal at a time of year marked by chestnut harvest (done during the months of October, November and December) and so it is only natural that the chestnuts are invited to be part of the festivities! But the tradition of São Martinho, is not only about chestnuts, jeropiga and the wine of the new harvest also take centre stage on this day. As said over many generations, "No dia de São Martinho, come-se castanhas e bebe-se vinho!"
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