Tuesday, November 07, 2006


November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

- Clyde Watson

November is the 11th month of the year, but it was the 9th month in the old Roman calendar. It was named Novemb which means 9. In old Danish it was called Slagtemåned (Slaughter Month), because the animals were being slaughtered before winter.

Mortensaften on the 10th of November is connected to bishop Martin of Tours. He had to be elected bishop in the year 371, but he didn't want to and was hiding among a flock of geese. They revealed him by their cackling, and according to Danish tradition we slaughter and eat the geese on Mortensaften, because they betrayed Morten .

Morten (= St. Martin) is the protector of all domestic animals and the guardian angel of all boozers. Mortens dag is on the 11th November, but the Danish celebration is the evening before, on the 10th. But not only geese are popular on the dinner table that night. Duck, turkey, venison, the tradition has changed like so many other traditions.

A weather omen says that a mild Mortensaften on the 10th of November promises a white Christmas.

A few things happening out in the Danish nature now:
There is only one little bird singing in November , and it sings through the whole winter; it's the wren, the smallest but one bird in Denmark.
The last hedgehogs are hiding for their winter sleep.
The ermine is changing its brown summer fur to winter white.
Some years invasions of crossbills arrive from the north.
Tufted ducks arrive to the country by the thousand.

photo: gb

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Askinstoo said...
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