hidden europe 44


by hidden europe


Martinmas is a day for a fresh start, a chance to turn over a new leaf. A good day for an armistice. And a good day to kick off the Carnival season.

We designated 11 November as the official publication date of this issue of hidden europe . It is a day widely celebrated across Europe as the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours. It is often known as Martinmas. In some countries, there are processions of children through the streets, often accompanied by the appearance of the figure of St Martin on a horse. It is a day for feasting. In many respects Martinmas rituals recall those of the Celtic festival of Samhain which marked the start of the darker period of the year — although there are also cultural echoes of Samhain in the traditions of All Hallows Eve.

In Britain and the USA, the 11th day of November has acquired a very particular meaning through its designation as Remembrance Day (in Britain) and Veterans Day (in the United States). The symbolisation of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is deeply embedded in Remembrance Day in Britain (and elsewhere in the Commonwealth where Remembrance Day is observed).

Yet the 11-11-11 symbolism predates the signing in November 1918 of the Armistice which signalled the end of the First World War.

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Monemvasía: the Greek Gibraltar

In the southern Peloponnese, the island citadel of Monemvasía once enjoyed a key strategic location on major Mediterranean shipping routes. No wonder, therefore, that many have sought to secure control of the rock that is often referred to as 'the Greek Gibraltar'.

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Where God grew stones: a Mani odyssey

Patrick Leigh Fermor's 1958 book on the Mani region of southern Greece helped put Mani on the map. Today it pulls the tourist crowds, yet it still retains a raw appeal. Guest contributor Duncan JD Smith dives deep into Mani to explore the otherworldly landscapes of this arid peninsula.