Monday, November 11, 2013

St. Martin´s Day Celebrations and Pastries - Sankt Martin and Martinshörnchen


On November 11th each year, Germans celebrate St. Martin's Day (“Martinstag”) also known as the Feast of St. Martin of Tours. It is a day to honor St. Martin. Historically, St. Martin´s Day was a time for feasting celebrations (signaling the end of the harvest season).
Am 11. November jeden Jahres feiert man in Deutschland Sankt Martin, auch bekannt als das Fest des Sankt Martin von Tours. Es ist ein Tag zu Ehren von Sankt Martin. Historisch gesehen war Sankt Martin eine Zeit für Feierlichkeiten und signalisierte das Ende der Erntezeit.




St. Martin was born in 316 or 317 and started out as a Roman soldier, he was baptized as an adult, became a monk and was named Bishop of Tours on July 4th, 372. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The most famous legend of his life is that one cold winter day, during a snowstorm, he was riding through the country when a shivering beggar came his way. Since he had neither food nor money, St. Martin cut his wollen cloak in half with his sword to share it with the freezing beggar. It is said that he thus saved the beggar from a certain death. 
Sankt Martin wurde 316 oder 317 geboren. Er wurde zunächst römischer Soldat, dann wurde er als Erwachsener getauft, wurde Mönch und am 4. Juli 372 dann Bischof von Tours. Es wird davon ausgegangen, dass er ein guter Mensch war, der ein ruhiges und einfaches Leben führte. Die berühmteste Legende seines Lebens ist, dass er an einem besonders kalten Wintertag, während eines Schneesturm über Land ritt, als er auf einen frierenden Bettler traf. Da er weder Essen noch Geld hatte bei sich hatte, teilte Sankt Martin seinen Umhang mit seinem Schwert und gab die eine Hälfte dem Bettler damit der nicht mehr frieren sollte. Es wird gesagt, dass er damit dem Bettler das Leben rettete.




Every year, St. Martin´s Day is celebrated to commemorate the day of his burial on  November 11th, 397. In some parts of the Netherlands, in a small part of Belgium, and in some areas of Germany and Austria, children walk in St. Martin´s processions through the villages and cities. They carry colorful St. Martin´s  paper lanterns and sing St. Martin´s songs. Usually, the procession starts at a church and ends at a public square. A man on horseback dressed like St. Martin accompanies the children. When they reach the square, a St. Martin’s bonfire is lit and Sweet Dough Men ("Weckmänner") are distributed to the children.
Jedes Jahr wird Sankt Martin gefeiert, um dem Tag seiner Beerdigung am 11. November 397 zu gedenken. In einigen Teilen der Niederlande, in einem kleinen Teil Belgiens und in einigen Gebieten Deutschlands und Österreichs gehen Kinder in Martinszügen durch die Dörfer und Städte. Sie tragen bunte Martinslaternen und singen Martinslieder. In der Regel beginnt der Martinszug an einer Kirche und endet am Marktplatz. Ein Reiter, verkleidet als Sankt Martin sowie einige Musikgruppen begleiten die Kinder. Am Ziel des Martinszugs wird ein Martinsfeuer entfacht und Weckmänner an die Kinder verteilt.




The tradition of the lanterns goes back to former times, when people lit candles to honor a saint and when lanterns were put up everywhere in town when a bishop came for a visit.
Die Tradition der Laternen geht zurück auf frühere Zeiten, als Menschen Kerzen anzündeten, um ihre Heiligen zu ehren und Laternen überall in der Stadt aufgestellt wurden wenn ein Bischof zu Besuch kam.




The custom of lighting a St. Martin´s bonfire after the lantern procession represents the beginning of festivities. In former times, most of the work on the fields had been completed and now it was time to celebrate, drink and eat. Traditionally, a fat goose and sweet bread treats were served.

Today, in the days and weeks leading up to the feast of St. Martin, children craft their own St. Martin´s lanterns in school or in kindergarten.

On the day of the celebrations, after participating in one of the numerous lantern procession´s, the children go door to door singing St. Martin´s songs in exchange for sweets or other small treats. Singing in exchange for candies is called "schnörzen" around here in the Rhineland.
Der Brauch des Martinfeuers am Ende des Martinszug symbolisiert den Beginn der Festlichkeiten. In früheren Zeiten war um diese Zeit die meiste Arbeit auf den Feldern war getan, und nun war es Zeit zu feiern, zu trinken und zu essen. Traditionell wurden eine fette Gans (Martinsgans) und süßes Brot serviert.

Heute, in den Tagen und Wochen vor dem Sankt Martinsfest, basteln die Kinder ihre eigenen Martinslaternen in der Schule oder im Kindergarten.

Am Tag der Feierlichkeiten gehen die Kinder nach dem Martinszug von Tür zu Tür und singen Martinslieder – sie werden mit Süßigkeiten oder anderen Kleinigkeiten belohnt. Hier im Rheinland nennen wir das "schnörzen". 




As mentioned above, to conclude the celebrations of St. Martin´s Day, the traditional treat that is given to the children after the St. Martin´s Day procession, are pastries called “Weckmänner”, baked goods in the shape of a man holding a clay pipe. Every year, I bake these Sweet Dough Man for family and friends.
Wie oben erwähnt, ist es nach dem Martinszug  immer noch Tradition, dass alle Kinder, die mit dem Martinszug gegangen sind, einen Weckmann bekommen. Auch ich lasse es mir nicht nehmen und backe jedes Jahr zu Sankt Martin einige "Weckmänner" für Familie und Freunde.




The Sweet Dough Men are formed out a slightly sweet yeast dough. To this day, the clay pipe that each sweet dough man carries, symbolizes an episcopal crozier, in memory of St. Martin the Bishop.
Die Weckmänner werden aus einem nicht allzu süßem Hefeteig gebacken und die Tonpfeiffe, die Weckmann ziert symbolisiert einen Bischofsstab, in Erinnerung an St. Martin den Bischof.




The clay pipes that I always use were handcrafted in Germany and have become somewhat of a collector´s item.
Die Tonpfeifen, die ich immer benutze, werden in Deutschland handgefertigt und über die Jahre haben sich da schon einige angesammelt.




Today, on St. Martin´s Day,  we will be watching the St. Martin´s procession along our street, right in front of our house. We will decorate the front yard with lots of colorful lanterns. And after the procession, the children will carry their candle-lit lanterns from house to house in our neighbourhood singing St. Martin´s songs, receiving sweets and other little treats. We will be waiting for them with baskets full of sweets, apples and clementines.

 The festivities in memory of St. Martin bear some resemblance to Halloween that was celebrated in many parts of the world just eleven days ago.

When I did a bit of research on traditional St. Martin´s Day treats, I came across a recipe for St. Martin´s Croissants. Also made out of sweet yeast dough, these are easy and fun pastries.
Heute geht ein Martinszug direkt in unsere Strasse. Wir werden den Vorgarten mit vielen bunten Laternen schmücken. Und nach dem Zug werden die Kinder in unserer Nachbarschaft mit ihren handgefertigten Martinslaternen von Haus zu Haus gehen,  Martinslieder singen, und dann Süßigkeiten oder andere Kleinigkeiten bekommen.Wir werden auf die Kinder mit Süßigkeiten, Äpfel und Clementinen warten

 Die Feierlichkeiten zu Ehren von St. Martin ähneln denen zu Halloween, das in vielen Teilen der Welt vor elf Tagen gefeiert wurde.

Während meiner Recherchen über traditionelles Martinsgebäck, fand ich ein wunderbares Rezept für sogenannte Martinshörnchen. Sie werden auch aus einem süßen Hefeteig gemacht, sind einfach zu backen und sehen nett aus.






St. Martin´s Day Pastries

Ingredients for the Yeast Dough 
  • 500 grams strong flour
  • 30 grams of fresh yeast 
  • 1 egg (L), free-range or organic if possible 
  • 80 grams fine (caster) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla sugar 
  • 60 grams unsalted butter 
  • one pinch fine sea salt 
  • 1 tbsp. rum 
  • 250 ml lukewarm milk
Martinshörnchen

Zutaten für den Hefeteig
  • 500 Gramm Mehl (Typ “1050”)
  • 30 Gramm frische Hefe
  • 1 Ei (L), Freiland oder Bio wenn möglich
  • 80 Gramm feinster Zucker
  • 1 ½ TL Bourbon Vanillezucker
  • 60 Gramm ungesalzene Butter
  • eine Prise feines Meersalz
  • 1 EL Rum
  • 250 ml lauwarme Milch



Ingredients for the Topping
  • 1 egg yolk (L), free-range or organic if possible
  • 2 tbsp.milk
  • some pearl sugar

Special Equipment needed
  • 2 baking sheets
  • parchment paper (unbleached if possible)
Zutaten für den Belag
  • 1 Eigelb (L), Freiland oder Bio wenn möglich
  • 2 TL Milch
  • etwas Hagelzucker

Außerdem
  • 2 Backbleche
  • Pergamentpaper



Preparation of the Yeast Dough
  1. Put the flour in a bowl, make an indentation in the center of the flour and crumble the yeast into the indentation.
  2. Then add 1 tbsp. of the sugar and 5 tbsp. of the milk to the yeast in the center of the flour. Using a fork, mix some of the flour into the yeast-sugar-milk mixture - just enough to cover the starter.
  3. Leave the starter to rise for about 15 minutes.
  4. Then add the egg, the remaining sugar, vanilla sugar, butter, salt, rum and the remaining milk to the flour mixture. Mix all the ingredients together and knead, until bubbles form and the dough does not stick to the mixing bowl anymore.
  5. Leave the dough to rise in a warm draft free area for another 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle and cut into angled triangles.
  7. Roll the dough triangles into croissant shaped pastries.
  8. Place the pastries onto the prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with food wrap and leave to rise again for 15 minutes.
  9. Preheat your oven to 210 degrees Celsius.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk with the 2 tbsp. milk.
  11. Brush the pastries with the egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  12. Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes until deep golden. Serve lukewarm.
Zubereitung des Hefeteigs
  1. Das Mehl in eine Schüssel geben, in die Mitte eine Vertiefung drücken und Hefe hineinbröckeln.
  2. Dann die Hefe mit 1 TL Zucker und 5 TL Milch sowie etwas Mehl gut verrühren.
  3. Diesen Vorteig mit Mehl bestäuben und 15 Minuten gehen lassen.
  4. Ei, Zucker, Vanillezucker, Butter, Salz, Rum und Milch dazugeben und alle Zutaten miteinander verkneten, bis sich Blasen bilden und der Teig sich vom Schüsselrand löst.
  5. Teig an einem warmen Ort gut 30 Minuten gehen lassen.
  6. Dann den Teig zum Rechteck formen, in spitzwinklige Dreiecke schneiden.
  7. Dreiecke rollen und zu Hörnchen formen.
  8. Nach dem Formen die Hörnchen auf die mit Backpapier ausgelegten Backbleche legen und noch einmal 15 Minuten gehen lassen.
  9. Den Ofen auf 210 Grad Celsius vorheizen.
  10. Das Eigelb mit 2 EL Milch verquirlen.
  11. Die gegangenen Hörnchen damit bestreichen und mit Hagelzucker bestreuen.
  12. Die Martinshörnchen für zirka 20 Minuten backen. Lauwarm servieren.



Have a wonderful St. Martin´s Day today!
Viel Spaß beim Martinsfest heute!




26 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this bit of history about St Martin's Day. In Australia we celebrate Remembrance Day on the 11th November.

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    1. Trishie, you are right, St Martin´s Day as celebrated around here on November 11th, each year does in fact coincide with a few other important holidays, such as Veteran´s Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada and Australia - it also happens to mark the beginning of the Carnival season around here. Thanks so much for stopping by, Trishie, all the best to Baby Alexander!

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  2. A lovely post. I enjoyed reading about St. Martin's Day, which I knew nothing about before. The parade of lanterns sounds lovely.

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    1. Beth, it is a wonderful day of celebration for kids and adults alike - colorful lanterns, an impressive procession with lanterns and music and afterwards there is delicious food - what more cpould one want from a holiday?!

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  3. Liebe Andrea, jetzt bekomme ich Heimweh :-( Sooooo schoene Fotos, da wird einem ganz warm ums Herz. Wie haben wir diese Zeit mit den Kindern genossen, jetzt sind sie ausgeflogen in die weite Welt.... Von jedem Jahr existieren Fotos von den Weckmaennchen, die Laternen sind noch im Umzugskarton, die koennte ich niemals entsorgen.... Immerhin feiern sie hier an der Deutschen Schule in Washington auch St. Martin und mit einem richtigen Pferd. Die wunderschoenen Laternen werden sicherlich noch in den naechsten Tagen im Dunkeln leuchten :-) LG

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    1. Liebe Wally, das freut mich jetzt aber sehr! Wie schön, dass ich dir ein kleines bisschen "Heimatfeeling" vermitteln konnte. Sankt Martin ist einer meiner Lieblings-Feiertage. Bei uns werden die Laternen auch immer mehr - ich traue mich auch nicht sie zu entsorgen, viel zu schade, viel zu schön!
      Ganz herzliche Grüße aus Bonn und vielen Dank für den lieben Kommentar, über den ich mich wirklich sehr freue!

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  4. Great post Andrea. It is so nice to see that these traditions continue into the next generation. I love love love the little clay pipes, so cute :)

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    1. Karen, so very kind of you - aren´t these clay pipes the cutest - I have collected quite a few over the years and I will continue to collect them, I am afraid. And those St. Martin´s Day traditions are very dear to us - hope that the kids will continue those traditions. Thanks so much for your kind comments, dear Karen!

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  5. The lanterns are beautiful especially light up at night. I like to have the clay man with the pipe, awesome creation.

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    1. Candy, thank you very much - the paper lanterns that our kids crafted are quite nice, we really enjoy lightening them with candles at night for the celebrations! The Sweet Dough Men with their clay pipes are a delicious specialty that everybody enjoys eating, aduls and kids alike!

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  6. As always, I treasure the posts you share. I learned so much today. And how could I not love a feast with lanterns, pipes, and pastries? I so wish I could come over to join in the festivities one year! Thank you for sharing Andrea!

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    1. Monet, what a nice comment - it makes me extremyl happy to learn that my dear followers actually like reading about some of the "fact and history behind the food" - these kinds of post are always very dear to my heart! Thank you!

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  7. Andrea - I absolutely love learning about festivals and celebrations such as this. I wish we had more in the U.S.! The photos are beautiful and your little pipes are the cutest things ever! ~ David

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    1. Dear David, these festivals and celebrations are quite wonderful and since we have kids, we make sure to try and keep some of these traditions alive. The clay pipes are manufactured in a very beautiful region of Germany - a region that has a long tradition of pottery.
      Thanks for the wonderful comment und ganz liebe Grüße,
      Andrea

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  8. Thx for sharing the phillosophy and story about st.Martin celebration....
    great post within nice photofraph...
    btw, did u made the latern by yourself???

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    1. Dede, everything you see in this post was made by us - while I baked the "Sweet Dough Men" and the "St. Martin´s Pastries", the crafted the lanterns in school and in kindergarten and, of course, th epictures were taken by me. So nice to read that you enjoyed this post - it was fun to put together! Thanks so much for the kind comment!

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  9. Wow, I never heard of this celebration, and so happy that I got to learn about it...sounds really fun, especially that you can watch the procession from home.
    The pastries look delicious.
    Have a wonderful week Andrea :D

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    1. Juliana, thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment - that St. Martin`s Day is not really known that much in other countries - but it is a big part of our lives in late autumn and we love all its traditions, the delicious ones as well as the colorful ones.

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  10. It was really interesting to hear about the St Martins day festivities. They sound like so much fun and colourful too. I think I would definitely enjoy a few of these clay pipe men or the croissants. They look fabulous!

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    1. Nazeen, thank you very much - the baked treats are fun for the kids and adults and so are the lanters - it is a wonderful day and we love all its traditions!

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  11. a lovely post and glorious recipe and pics...celebration is certainly flowing in the air...everything looks so warm :-)

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    1. Kumar, so kind of you - sure glad that you enjoyed this post about our traditional St. Martin´s Day celebrations and treats!

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  12. What a fun tradition Andrea! I never knew about this. Your croissants look amazing, certainly worthy of a very special occasion. I love that pearl sugar, can't find it very easily over here.

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    1. Chris, a fun tradition indeed - that pearl sugar is (do not laugh now) often available at IKEA in the US - here you can find it in just about all well stocked supermarkets and grocery stores - if you cannot find it, you can substitue almond slithers or crush a few sugar cubes. In this traditional recipe the pearl sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness to the pastries as the dough itself is not all that sweet! Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. I enjoyed learning about St Martin's Day. I honestly hadn't heard about it until this year. Now I feel like more of a "global citizen" to know. It sounds like a festive holiday, my favorite kind. It was reminding me of our Halloween, so it was interesting that you pointed out the similarity in your post. November 11th here is Veteran's Day to honor those who served our country. This year, I took the dog to the little parade in my town. What I didn't realize was that it was a progressive parade where the paraders (veteran soldiers, town dignitaries, the girl and boy scouts, etc) along with many spectators followed the procession to four monuments to veterans of different wars in our town center, laying a memorial wreath at each, and having the Minutemen (a group who reenact our Revolutionary War soldiers) shot a one round salute on their muskets. It was unique and I hope to participate again next year. (Sorry for the long comment, but I thought you would find it interesting.)

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    1. Betsy, what a wonderful and thoughtful comment - you certainly make me a happy blogger, dear friend! Thanks for letting me know about the parade on November 11th, you already know that I always love to learn about many things, especially traditions so I enjoyed this comment very much! So many things to learn and so little time! Thanks again for taking the time to explain this to me, dear Betsy!

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