There are many traditions around Europe on this day, but in Portugal to celebrate St Martin's Day usualy it makes a big "magusto" (roasting chestnuts on a bonfire). This is also a time to taste the new wine. As the popular saying goes, "on Saint Martin's day, go to the winery and taste the wine". But today we don't talk about wine, we talk about chestnuts. Do you know why we eat chestnuts on this day?
Once celebrated during the chestnut harvest season, inseparable from this date, the festivities in honor of "São Martinho" ended up being linked to the tradition of the "magustos", which calls for lighting a fire and roasting chestnuts, drinking "jeropiga" or "água pé" (both alchoolic bevarages) and, of course, the new wine of the harvest. The popular proverb says that "on Saint Martin's day, bread, chestnuts and wine". However, the association of chestnuts with Saint Martin's Day is somewhat diffuse, and there are even those who place this tradition on All Saints' Day, November 1st, when the fruit was placed on the table so that the dead of the family could eat.
By the way, do you know the history and legend of St. Martin? It is on the date of his burial, three days after he died in Candes, that the day dedicated to him is celebrated. It is believed that on the day before and the day of the celebrations, the weather improves and the sun appears. The event is known as "St. Martin's summer" and is often associated with the well-known legend of St. Martin. According to legend, Saint Martin of Tours met a beggar during a snowstorm and with his sword he cut his cloak in half to share with the beggar and protect him from the rain. Legend has it that in a flash the cold stopped and the warm sun appeared. This change in the weather is believed to have been the reward for Martin being generous to the beggar, giving rise to the famous "St. Martin's Summer".
Now that you know a little more about this day, all that's left for you to eat are some good roasted chestnuts! You can make them at home by following these steps:
1. Preheat the oven to 200Cº degrees
2. With a knife, slice the chestnuts
3. Soak them in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes
4. Arrange the chestnuts on a tray and sprinkle them with coarse salt
5. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the shells open
6. Remove from the oven and enjoy.
Enjoy your meal and have a nice St. Martin's Day!