November 11th is Martinstag in Germany. St. Martin von Tours (316 - 297 CE) was a modest Roman Soldier who, on a bitterly cold night, saved a homeless man from freezing to death by giving him half of his cloak. Martin found the poor man right outside the city gates of Amiens. He wanted to help but had nothing to give. So he stopped his horse, drew his sword and cut his cloak in half. This is a story known to all children in Germany and it is celebrated by carrying lanterns through the night and singing songs, often lead by a St. Martin on a horse and a theatrical play of the story at the town square at the end of the procession.
Martin was eventually granted to resign from the Roman Army and was made Bishop of Tours. Legend says that he did not want to become Bishop, as he thought he was not worthy, and hid in a pen of geese. But the geese betrayed him with their chatter and gave away his hiding place - hence the tradition of eating a goose on St. Martin’s day.