São Martinho Customs and Traditions Portugal

Have you ever heard of São Martinho summer?

Legend has it that on a cold and rainy November day, somewhere in France, Martinho, a Roman soldier whose name is in homage to the God of War and of Soldiers, was riding along a path on his horse.

Along the way, he met a beggar asking for money. As he only had his Roman cloak and his sword, St. Martin lifted his sword and cut his cape in two, offering one half to the beggar in a commendable attitude of sharing and kindness.

Although poorly clothed, legend has it that São Martinho continued on his way, but suddenly, as if by miracle, the sky became clear and the warmth of the sun beamed down, lasting for about three days.

Ever since, in Portugal, although it is already cold in Autumn, around São Martinho’s day there are always some amazing days of sunshine, known as the St. Martin’s Summer.

This legend is celebrated on 11 November, promoting the principles of sharing and mutual help, with festivities where typical seasonal products are eaten (chestnuts, sweet potatoes and jeropiga wine) all over the country.

In this date on a trip to Portugal, you should participate in a typical São Martinho’s magusto (feast to celebrate the chestnut), where loved ones come together to celebrate this legend of goodwill, sharing and compassion.