Saturday, November 11, 2017

More Than Just Veteran's Day

Today is, of course, Veteran's Day (or Armistice Day/Remembrance Day, depending on what country you live in) which commemorates the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

However, today is also the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours, one of the patron saints of soldiers.  On Facebook today uCatholic, one of the pages I've Liked, posted a link to an interesting article called The Catholic Origins of Veterans Day.

 From the article I learned that:
Advent, like Lent, used to be a 40-day period of fasting called “Quadragesima Sancti Martini” (Saint Martin’s Lent). Because Saint Martin’s day fell the day before this fasting would begin, like Fat Tuesday for Lent, “Martinmas” as the day was commonly known, was a great day of feasting after the fall harvest and before Advent, and was a marked with major celebrations, traditionally starting at the 11th hour.
As was a centuries-old tradition in Europe, warring nations and parties who sought to end conflicts would sign their treaties on his feast day November 11 in Saint Martin’s honor and in preparation for Advent.  In accordance with this tradition, the official armistice that ended “The Great War” or World War I, was signed on the feast of Saint Martin during the 11th hour.