One of the most important tradition in Puglia is: la festa di San Martino in early november.
San Martino, the feast of St. Martin is celebrated throughout Italy but especially in Puglia. San Martino is celebrated November the 11th and is the celebration of “Saint Martin of Tours”.St. Martin was born in Hungary in 316 . When he was 15, he is called in the army in France. According to the legend, the most famous and most important event in his life took place there. In the French town of Amiens, Martin saw a half-naked beggar . The weather was very wet and cold. When Martin saw this poor man, he took his military cloak immediately and cut it in half. He gave one half of it to the beggar. Then Martin walked along with the other soldiers again, in the freezing cold and rain , with only half his cloak. But then suddenly the sun broke through, it stopped raining and the sun warmed the air. That night, Martin dreamed that Jesus came to him and gave him back half of his cloak . While Jesus said to the angels, ” This Roman unbaptized Roman soldier has covered me with his cloak.” According to legend, when Martin woke up, the cloak of St. Martin was whole again. Martin was so impressed by this event that he was baptized the same day. He left the army and joined the church.
The days around San Martino are called ” L’ Estate di San Martino “, the Summer of St. Martin. It’s the end of summer and beginning of autumn. Often it is nice weather these days . This is also linked to the legend of the mantle of San Martino . The beautiful days are a reminder of the goodness of St. Martin.
It’s the end of the work on the land and the beginning of the winter . According to old saying if the weather is beautiful these days, so will be the winter. If the weather is cold during the Estate di San Martino, the winter will be cold too. In Puglia, especially in Salento the most southern part, this is all a reason for celebrations.During the celebrations of San Martino, traditionally the new wines of the year are being presented and tasted …. Il Vino Novello . And like they say in Puglia …” Te Santu Martinu ogni Mustu Diventa vinu ” During the celebrations of course the food is important: especially the pettole . Pettole are fried dough balls . They can be both sweet and savory filled.