Celebrating the Saints :: St. Martin of Tours

by | Nov 13, 2013 | Celebrating the Saints, Cookie Molds, Martinmas, St. Martin of Tours | 14 comments

The most common, and universal, harvest and thanksgiving celebration in medieval times was held on the Feast of St. Martin of Tours (Martinmas) on November 11. It was a holiday in Germany, France, Holland, England, and in central Europe. People first went to Mass and observed the rest of the day with games, dances, parades, and a festive dinner, the main feature of the meal being the traditional roast goose (Martin’s goose). . .” 

The past few years, with the feast of St. Martin right after our annual All Hallows’ Eve/All Saints Party and the busy days that follow, I am usually still recovering and end up keeping the feast of St. Martin extra simple.   This year, however, since we had some friends join us to “Celebrate the Saints” I went all out for Martinmas!  The children all had a wonderful time and learned so much about St. Martin and the various traditions attached to his feast day. 


In many countries, including Germany, Martinmas celebrations begin at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of this eleventh day of the eleventh month. Bonfires are built, and children carry lanterns in the streets after dark, singing songs for which they are rewarded with candy.  (In our case it was cookies and St. Martin bags!)

Rose very much enjoyed explaining to her older sisters how it is done! 😉 

TIP #1 – Be sure to cover the table with a disposable plastic tablecloth.

TIP #2 – DO NOT leave a room full of boys unattended with a bottle of Mod Podge!

TIP #3 – A blazing wood stove will help speed up the drying process.  

.:  STORY TIME :. 

Here are the books I choose from our collection to share with the children this year… 

Introduction and Art Appreciation: 

by Carole Armstrong
“A lavishly illustrated volume–featuring the famed works of Raphael, Bosch, and Giotto–recounts the dramatic histories of many Christian saints, including John the Baptist, Francis of Assisi, and Joan of Arc.”

Art Appreciation:  Saint Martin’s Renunciation of Arms by Simone Martini 
about 1284-1344 S. Francesco, Assisi

Read and Discuss:

from Saints: Lives and Illuminations by Ruth Sanderson

printed from Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact (using the images I created little folded booklets)

My husband is so awesome!  He took over reading and discussing the stories with the children while they colored, giving me a much needed break.  

I did hear one of the boys say that he looked “a little girlie…” 
… which they then all quickly remedied with some facial hair!

“Hey Mom, look!  I gave him a mustache like Dad had when he was younger!” 
(Yes, that was before we met!) 

I think the hairy hands was taking it a little too far! 😉 

“Bud” really enjoyed his godmother’s coloring page too! 

The children (ages 1-13!) all enjoyed coloring and did an excellent job! 


After creating these St. Martin Cookies, I am officially in love with Catholic themed cookie molds.  I just wish they weren’t so expensive!  We all have our favorite hobbies though, and creating “Catholic Cuisine” is one of mine.   Thankfully my husband has always been supportive when it comes to purchasing things that help enhance our faith and help teach our children about the saints, so hopefully he will buy me another mold (or two!) for Christmas!  I’ve added quite a few of them to my “wish list!” 


“Il-Borża ta’ San Martin, or St. Martin’s Bags, are a festive tradition in Malta on the feast of St. Martin of Tours. Children are given these bags full of treats associated with the feast. The cloth bags have drawstrings at the top and are filled with fruits of the harvest.”

Catholic Cuisine: St. Martin’s Bags
I quickly created our St. Martin Bag’s with Fruit & Nuts from Costco. 

A poem about the bag of treats to recite:
Ġewż, Lewż, Qastan, Tin
Kemm inħobbu lil San Martin.

Walnuts, Almonds, Chestnuts, Figs
I very much love Saint Martin.


We had a little “Bonfire” in our fire pit and roasted hotdogs (instead of goose) for dinner.  

A few of these pictures are pretty blurry, but they were such precious moments!  Just look at that little baby of mine… He is growing up way too fast!

.: PRAYER :. 
The evening ended with a Martinmas Lantern Walk.  My husband read the prayers from the Mass of St. Martin along with the readings and Gospel, as we walked around our property with the lanterns.  We also prayed for our Veterans, military, and all those who have died or are suffering due to the recent typhoon in the Philippines…

“At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, 
No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, 
nor under a bushel: but upon a candlestick, 
that they that come in may see the light…” 

(Gospel for Nov. 11 – St. Martin, The New Roman Missal, Father Lasance)

We will be taking a break from “Celebrating the Saints” (with friends anyways… we celebrate the saints with the Church and as a family year round, but this momma needs a little break before she completely burns out!) during December and January and will get together again in February with friends for the feast of St. Modomnoc featuring The Saint and his Bees.  Speaking of which, the author of The Saint and His Bees has a new book out and it’s illustrated by Lydia, one of our family’s favorite home educated artists!  I’ve already placed my order for a copy of Saint Felix and the Spider!  

O God, Who seest that we exist by no power of our own, mercifully grant that, by the intercession of blessed Martin, Thy confessor and bishop, we be strengthened against all adversities.  Through our Lord.

St. Martin of Tours, Pray for us! 


  1. Charlotte (WaltzingM)

    I LOVE THE FACIAL HAIR!!! HAH! What a good job they did! OK, in my defense, he was very young when he was in the Roman Army, like 15 I think. not that 15 year olds look girlie, but you know what I mean. Love to see that little guy coloring my picture!

  2. Jessica Gordon

    I was about to email you to make sure you weren't offended! 🙂 He just looks young to me too, not girlie, but the facial hair was too funny not to share. lol Boys!

  3. 9peasMom

    I love it! Looks like a night well worth putting the effort towards, but I do think it is right to take a break when needed. I'm pinning this one, I hope to replicate it one day soon.
    As to the cookie molds, when supporting any form of ecumenism and creating beauty and lasting memories – if you have the means then I think it is wonderful to spend the money on something so worthy. Those molds will be around when you are a Grandmother most likely, it is an investment in memories.

  4. Erin

    LOVE the pic of your husband reading to all the children, his and extras. So inspiring!

  5. Beth

    Thanks for linking to the comic book. My son loved it!

  6. Jessica Gordon

    Yes, definitely worth the effort! And I am definitely ready for a break! 🙂

    I completely agree! It will be so much fun to make these cookies with my grandchildren someday, God willing! In the meantime we are creating wonderful memories!

  7. Jessica Gordon

    I'm so glad! They are great little comic books!

  8. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you, Erin! I loved that picture too! Sean has been so great lately, trying to find little ways to help me keep up with everything…

  9. Kimberlee

    What a wonderful celebration! I, too, love the shot of Sean reading to all the kids. The hirsuit saints are great! I always love to see how kids can take something like a coloring page and make it so uniquely their own with their own creativity.
    And thanks for mentioning (and ordering) Lydia's new book! Hope you all enjoy it! God bless!

  10. Anonymous

    What a blessing it is to see the fruit of your labor! May our Father in heaven reward you and your beautiful family.

  11. Jessica Gordon

    I'm sure we will! I can hardly wait for the book to arrive! Congratulations, Kimberlee! How exciting for your family!

  12. Roswell

    Hi I teach preschoolers and I love telling them the story of St Martin. As you mentioned in your blog, it is very popular in my little island country Malta. We still keep a lot of Catholic traditions, which I feel is so important for children. Besides giving the children the St Martin's bag, on the Sunday which is closest to the feast day a fair is held in the village of Bahrija. It is attended by hundreds of people. I wish somebody could create a video of the story about St Martin. It would be fantastic for the children. Would it be possible for you to share some pictures from the comic book you have with us? Thank you. So happy to have seen your ideas.

  13. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks for visiting! One of our favorite local retired priests is from Malta. (I posted a short video about him here.) My boys have been serving Mass for him for years. I'll mention to Marc (our friend that created the video about Father) that he needs to make one about St. Martin! 🙂

    Anyway, I just realized that the links to the comic books no longer work. I found an updated link to The Mantle of Charity comic here: http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=57870

    Hope that helps!


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