sweet st. martin

I think the bar for saintdom has risen in the past few centuries. St. Martin, for instance, shared a coat with a cold guy. This does not make him an action saint by any means. It does make him a nice guy, however; the quantity of which around the year 300 C.E. must have been low. (Raiding Visigoth hordes not being known for their hospitality.)

So Martin gets chilly and becomes a saint. (Certainly better than being impailed by stakes, say, or torn apart by lions. I did not eat all the Halloween candy, for instance. Where's my damn saint's day?) But thank God for pagans, as the old traditions at least inject some practical elements into a holiday (like eating sweets.) No one's wandering around with half-torn coats around here; they're eating cookies, roasting geese and wandering around singing (when it's not raining and 4 degrees Celcius) with lanterns. Light of God and all that, but whatever. They look cool, and I'm told they can also double as a place to stash more candy. Practical.

The goose part of the story is probably my favorite. St. Martin, being a nice guy and all, wanted nothing to do with being appointed Bishop of Tours (as the fancy church robes were harder to tear) and so hid in a goose pen. Martin, it must be said, was not the brightest ascetic. The geese gave up the monk with their squacking, and Martin was bishoped, and the geese became dinner. Silly gooses.