Mårten the Goose ?

Picture of Björnstierne Antonsson

Björnstierne Antonsson

The custom of eating goose on Marten’s Eve has been known since the 16th century among the higher classes throughout Sweden. Only towards the end of the 19th century did goose spread as a festive food, in step with increased prosperity. In our time, eating geese is associated with Scania, which is a late phenomenon. The day is named after the saint Martin, a name which in Sweden has been transformed into Mårten. St. Martin’s attribute was a goose.

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In our time, it is generally understood that the marten goose celebration with roast goose and black soup is a typical Scanian custom. But the holiday has been known in large parts of Europe since at least the Middle Ages. Then it was celebrated in memory of St. Martin, a canonized bishop from Tours in France. In the Middle Ages, Martin’s weekend was one of the most important autumn holidays. St. Martin’s attribute was the goose.

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