November 8, 2013

Mortens Aften

I hope you all had a nice Halloween (if you happen to celebrate that)!

In my country it's not really a thing yet.. I mean it's coming but if kids go trick-or-treating they'll, most times, be met by angry people who will think the kids are just begging. The kids don't know what to say when people finally open the doors and the adults have no idea what to do either.
"Candy? I have none, why would you come to my house and ask for that?" 
Halloween is causing a lot of awkward situations here..

Most people here don't even know the story about Halloween. Why do we celebrate it? What is there to celebrate? Why do people dress up? Isn't it an American thing? Why would we celebrate that?

I see their point. I mean, I have never heard of people celebrating Chinese New Year here either. That belongs to other countries. Don't all countries have those weird days that nobody else really celebrate? Imagine of your home country suddenly celebrated every possible holiday/festival in the world! What a mess! Every single day would be filled with strange traditions and songs and people dressed in all sorts of exotic costumes. I love holidays and those strange traditional days, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I think we should just stick to the dates that actually mean something to us; days that are part of our history, our culture, and who we are.
What do you think?

Speaking of strange dates, we actually have one coming up; it is called "Mortens Aften" which, I believe, would translate to something like "The night of Morten" or "Martini" (Don't hang me up on it). I never quite understood it before I went to America and actually had to research it to be able to explain it to my American family.

The story goes like this:
Saint Morten (or Martin as he's called in Germany) was a very holy and also pious man. People had decided that he should be a bishop now but Morten didn't like that. One night he tried to flee from those people (whoever they were) and decided to hide in a shed with geese. The geese began to .. well make whatever sound a goose makes. Then they began to yell: "He's here! He's hiding in the shed!" so loud that he was found out. Saint Morten was made a bishop and legend says that he, as a revenge, created a law saying that once every November 10th, we should eat geese for dinner to punish them for giving him away.

Strange tradition indeed. Geese, however, are pretty huge and also quite pricey so nowadays we eat ducks instead.
Do you have anything like this in your country?

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