Martinmas is also known as Saint Martin's Day, Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag as well as Old Halloween. It is the feast day of St Martin of Tours and is the time of year when Autumn seeding was completed and the annual slaughter of fattened cattle was performed. Hiring fairs where farm labourers historically looked for new positions were held at this time of year.
Martin of Tours was a soldier in the Roman army, when he decided to convert to Christianity he was later imprisoned for his refusal to fight. Becoming a monk he founded the monastery in Gaul and became the Bishop of Tours.
Famous for his generosity towards a drunken beggar to whom he gave his cloak St Martin is now the patron saint of beggars, drunks and the poor. As his feast day falls during the wine harvest in Europe he is also the patron saint of wine growers and innkeepers. (bit of a conflict of interests there I think)
The 11th November is also a second chance to look into the future, so if you wish to
do so try this, as performed in Scotland!
Take three dishes, fill one with clean water and another with dirty water, the third leave empty. The person wishing to know their future is blindfolded and is directed to choose a dish with their left hand. If they choose the clean dish then their future partner will be a maid or a bachelor, if they choose the dirty water then their partner will be a widow or widower but if they choose the empty one then they will never marry. And if they don't like the results let them try again but remember to move the dishes.