Today is the feast of St. Martin of Tours, otherwise called Martinmass. I suspect few of you observed the old forty day fast period which would end today. Also, today marks the octave since All Souls Day. Don’t forget: Pray for the dead in a special way during the month of November and obtain indulgences if you can.
In some places through history Martinmass was a time of real celebration. It marked the time when the new wine was ready and the harvest was in and also it stood not too long before Advent, a fasting time.
‘Tis Martinmass from rig to rig
Ploughed fields and meadow lands are blea
In hedge and field each restless twig
Is dancing on the naked tree
Flags in the dykes are bleached and brown
Docks by its sides are dry and dead
All but the ivy-boughs are brown
Upon each leaning dotterel’s head
Crimsoned with awes the awthorns bend
O’er meadow-dykes and rising floods
The wild geese seek the reedy fen
And dark the storm comes o’er the woods
The crowds of lapwings load the air
With buzes of a thousand wings
There flocks of starnels too repair
When morning o’er the valley springs.
And remember Stir-Up Sunday is coming soon!