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St. Martin's Festival Dinner

  • Date: Saturday, November 11, 2017
  • Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Location: Peace Dining Room

St. Martin's Day Dinner Peasant Celebration

Martinmas is an ancient holiday commemorating the life of St. Martin of Tours, a fourth century Roman soldier and bishop. According to legend, while a soldier Martin met a man begging on the side of the road. Taking pity, he parted his cloak, giving half to the destitute man. A short time later, Jesus appeared to Martin in a vision and told him that it was not a beggar he had clothed, but Christ himself. The event inspired Martin to leave the army and became a monk. His deeds of piety soon attracted the attention of the citizens of Tours who decided to make him their bishop. Knowing of the Saint’s humility, the people of Tours lured him into the city under false pretenses and then surprised him with the offer of the Episcopal See. So distressed by the notion of becoming a bishop was St. Martin that he ran away and hid in a pen of geese, only to be found when their honking alerted his pursuers, who retrieved him for Episcopal consecration. As a result of this story, goose is traditionally served on the Feast of St. Martin or Martinmas.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Martinmas, which fell on November 11, was important not only for its religious significance but as a harvest festival similar to Thanksgiving. It marked the traditional end of fall and the beginning of winter, and provided medieval families an excuse to gather.

The festival is also closely connected to Martin Luther, who was born on November 10, 1483, and baptized the following day. According to the naming practices of the time, children were given the name of the saint upon whose feast they were baptized, thus Martin Luther. After the Reformation, Martinmas became means for Protestants to commemorate Luther’s birth and remember the Reformation more broadly, and it continues to be celebrated in many parts of Western Europe with a torch-lit children’s parades often led by St. Martin impersonators and culminating with a feast.

In 1983 in honor of the Martin Luther’s five-hundredth birthday, Luther College sponsored a St. Martin’s Day Dinner. This November 11, as a festive conclusion to the year’s Reformation Commemoration activities, we are reviving this tradition. Join members of the Luther College community for the chance to experience a holiday that dates back fifteen centuries. The evening will include a menu inspired by the medieval version of the Martinmas, as well as a program with period music by guitarist Peter Lingen and members of Collegium Musicum.

Price:  For students, a meal card swipe plus $5; for others $10. To use a swipe (+$5) students must purchase tickets by Wednesday, November 8.  Tickets available at the Luther College box office.


Family Style Service on tables in rows

Wine Braised Root Vegetables with Cabbage, Roasted Apples, and Thyme
Bread: Pumpernickel (Slice thick), Rustic Herb Rolls, Whipped Butter
Starch: Boiled and Smashed Baby Red Parsley Potatoes
Entree Protein: Ale Marinated, Grilled Local Chicken Quarter with Wild Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Cream
Vegan Entree Protein: Stuffed Butternut Squash with Stewed Lentils and Braised Greens
Dessert: Rustic Pear Tart with Date Jam, Roasted Cherries, Toasted Pecans, and Fresh Rosemary
Drinks: Coffee, Water, Lemonade

Questions? Contact Robert Christman, 563-387-2137