The Significance of the Martinsgans or Martinmas Goose

Martin was a pious man who lived in the town of Tours, and its residents held him in high honor for his caring and willingness to help. In the year 371 (or 372), the residents wanted him to become Bishop of Tours, but being the modest man he was, he shied away from this high position. He decided to hide in the goose shed instead.

But the geese were clucking so loudly around Martin, that the town folks soon found him. Soon after, he was made Bishop of Tours.

The custom of eating Martinsgans (a.k.a. Martinmas Goose) on St. Martin’s Day has another reason as well.

In the farmers’ calendar, the day of St. Martin (11 November) has always been a special day. On that day, the farmers’ fiscal year ended. Therefore, wages, interest, and taxes were due, and animals got butchered. Often, interest was paid in the form of natural goods, such as geese. That way, they did not have to get fed through the winter time, and were served on St. Martin’s Day instead.

In addition, after 11 Nov (nowadays, the official beginning of the Fasching season), a strict time of fasting began towards Christmas. That way, people had the chance to have a last feast before fasting for the following six weeks up to Christmas.

Former U.S. Army Garrison in Heidelberg

Two weeks ago, we were invited to a friend’s birthday party in Heidelberg. As we drove around looking for the party location between Schwindstraße and Feuerbachstraße, I noticed a building with a four-digit number. Of course, this had to be a former U.S. building number left over from the army occupation.

German house numbers generally do not go over two digits.

This building was still standing as of 25 September 2022 (the day of our visit).

Camp King Oberursel and its Influence on Jazz in Hessen

The Cold War era and the deployment of American military at various bases during that time played an important role in the growing popularity of jazz in Hessen.

As a tribute to this, there will be a concert at the Oberursel Town Hall on 22 May 2022.

Visit History of Jazz in Hessen for more information.

Berthold Schinke, one of the organizers, has this to add:

“On this day, the focus is not so much on the history of Camp King as on the music from the time of the Mountain Lodge as well as stories and anecdotes that are not found in any history work. The concert begins on May 22, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. in the town hall of Oberursel, admission from 4:00 p.m.”

German Word of the Day: die Einfahrt

This must be one of the most beloved words for learners of German. The word Fahrt itself stands for drive, ride, trip, etc. Einfahrt means entrance, gateway to Autobahn, etc.

It has nothing to do with fart, even though most learners associate its sound with that. This can provide some giggles.

This photo was taken in Oberursel and it shows the entrance to a Getränkemarkt (beverage shop).

alldrink – Einfahrt: entrance to Alldrink beverage shop

alldrink Einfahrt Oberursel

The Quest for Bunkers in Germany

Ever since the Russian invasion into Ukraine started, some Germans have begun hoarding groceries, buying emergency generators (some home improvement centers have sold out), and inquiring about renting or buying a bunker room.

I watched the German news today, and they had interviewed an entrepreneur who earns a living from renting and selling bunkers in Germany. Before the war with Ukraine, he said, he had four or five inquiries about renting/buying a bunker a week. Now he gets 400 inquiries a week.

Some shoppers around here have been hoarding mostly oil, flour, and toilet paper (among some other items).

My hometown of Schweinfurt (northern Bavaria) hosts a Bunkermuseum, and because of the current development, the number of inquiries for guided tours has been on the rise.

Autobahn in Germany

Feeling safe for now, and greetings from Germany.

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