Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saint Martin's Bags - Goodies for the Children

Il-Borża ta' San Martin, or St. Martin's Bags, are a festive tradition in Malta on the feast of St. Martin of Tours. Children are given these bags full of treats associated with the feast. The cloth bags have drawstrings at the top and are filled with fruits of the harvest.

Common contents of the bags include:

It might also contain St. Martin's bread (Weckmanner in Germany). We just used what we had on hand - peanuts, cashews, and dried fruit. The bags are easy to make. This one is a light muslin, decorated with a goose - symbol associated with St. Martin.

A poem about the bag of treats to recite:
Ġewż, Lewż, Qastan, Tin
Kemm inħobbu lil San Martin.

Walnuts, Almonds, Chestnuts, Figs
I very much love Saint Martin.

At our St. Martin feast day celebration with our local support group today, a friend of mine made "beggar bags" for all the kids. They were crumpled, brown paper bags signifying simplicity and poverty. The picture on the bag shows St. Martin with the beggar. They contained nuts, fruit and a cookie.

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  1. Such a simple thing, but so lovely! I didn't know about this tradition. Thank you, Mary.

  2. I love this! Wish I would have seen it before I posted yesterday! What a great idea :-)

  3. Great post! I’m looking to make some changes in my own eating habits, so I appreciate your insight a lot! Thank you. I recently stumbled upon this blog like I did yours and I thought your readers may appreciate it:

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  4. This is fantastic and I totally want to do this for my next St. Martin's Day (which I celebrate annually with a goose feast!)—can you tell us the dimensions of this little bag (the cloth one)? It looks like it's about 9-10 pecans tall and about 6 pecans wide. Is that correct?

    1. The bags are about 4 x 6 inches.

    2. Just adding that the bags could be any size, depending on how much you wanted to be able to put in them.