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England: Martinmass Day
If ducks do slide at Martinmas
At Christmas they will swim;
If ducks do swim at Martinmas
At Christmas they will slide
The Feast of St Martin of Tours or Martin le Misércordieux (316-397 AD), Martinmass is a time for feasting celebrations. This is the Autumn time when autumn wheat seedling is completed. In the past hiring fairs were where farm laborers would seek new posts. In the south of Derbyshire the farmers provided a cakes-and-ale feast for workers. The cakes made with seeds and whole grains are called Hopper Cakes. Beef is the day’s traditional meat dish. If the wind is in the south-west, it will stay there to Candlemas in February, ensuring a mild and snow-free winter. If the wind is in the north-west, a severe winter will come. If the leaves of the trees and grape vines do not fall before Martin’s Day, a cold winter may be expected (38)

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