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Martini (St. Martin's Day)

Name for a church festival that is celebrated in Central Europe, especially in Bavaria, Thuringia and Austria, on the day of the funeral of St. Martin of Tours (316-397). The day is marked by numerous customs such as Martinsgansessen (Martinigansl), Martinszug and Martinssingen. In Austria, the wine from this year's vintage is served for the first time as a Heuriger on this day; the previous vintage thus becomes a so-called "Alter". This church festival celebrated as "Martini" replaced the Germanic autumn festival. The wine baptism or wine blessing of the new vintage also takes place at Martini on 11 November and is celebrated in numerous winegrowing communities. The Bible, Jesus Sirach, chap. 31, verses 25 to 31 are often used as the reading text. According to an old custom, before this consecration it is not allowed to toast with wine, but instead of the usual toast "Prost", "meal" is to be used. Likewise, before the baptism of wine on St. Martin's Day, the wine glass may only be held with the left hand.

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