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Croatia: Martinje (St. Martin's) – cheerful custom of baptizing young wine

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 Croatia: Martinje (St. Martin's) – cheerful custom of baptizing young wine

From picking rape grapes to a glass of fine beverages, wine goes through a complex process of making. The most interesting and, surely, the most fun stage of this process is Martinje.

St. Martin’s feast is a ritual of wine baptism that has been celebrated since the 17th ct in the northern parts of Croatia. Marry wine lovers gather in vineyards of hosts in mid of November. In the ritual of baptizing, acters dress up and take roles of judge, bishop, godmother and godfather of the wine.

This marry company praise god of wine in their witty prayers to give their hosts abundance of saussages, ribs and other meat treats, along with galons of good wine. They use prayers also to chase away empty dishes, broken bottles, frost and other disasters that leave people hungry and thirsty. The whole ritual is accompanied by richly served cuisine, with goose as the most imotrant dish.

The playful baptizing is an ancient pagan ritual started out by priest Martin in the 4th ct. He, as a true wine lover, decided to popularize this precious baverage among commoners, with who he was very close. This Croatian tradition, Martinje, was named after the famous priest. According to another fun legend of Martinje, traditionally roasted goose is chosen to be served by punishment. Priest Martin did not want to become a part of the high church hierarchy. When the time came for his announciation for a bishop, he hid in the bushes. His hideout was exposed by the sounding of a goose.

St Martin's costumed feast can be seen all around small towns and villages of North of Croatia, however it is no less fun in cities, where all sorts of wine are offered along with home-made saussages and song.

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