11th of November is St. Martin’s day in Portugal! The annual holiday is a celebration commonly associated with the celebration of maturation of the year’s wine! It is traditionally celebrated with a bonfire, eating roasted chestnuts and drinking a local light alcoholic drink called “água-pé” which literally translates to “foot-water”. Água-péis made by adding water to the pomace left after the juice is pressed out of grapes for wine (traditionally by stomping on them with bare feet). St Martin’s day also marks the first day when the first wines of the season can be tasted! Throughout the streets of Lisbon, you can find numerous stalls where locals sell freshly roasted chestnuts for as little as €2 for a dozen! As the festival is a celebration of life, there is plenty of food and drink available!
ST MARTIN´S SUMMER
Legend has it that on one rainy day, St Martin was riding his horse when he came across a beggar. The man was shivering in the rain, but St Martin had nothing to give him. So, he took his sword and cut his cloak in half to give the beggar something warm to put on. Further along on his journey, St Martin came across yet another beggar and gave him the other half of his cloak meaning St Martin had nothing to protect him from the cold. At that very moment, the clouds parted, and the sun shone for 3 days. Portuguese people believe at on the eve of St Martin’s day, the weather improves! This is known as “St Martin’s summer”.
And another curiosity about this special and so important for Portuguese people day! Check-out the song about the chestnut-seller (“O homem das castanhas”), by internationally known Lisbon singer, Carlos do Carmo, and let yourself get fully immersed in the St. Martin´s day ambient!