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  • Writer's pictureMichael Goettler

Celebrating St. Martin's Day

Celebrating St. Martin's Day

On November 11, German children celebrate St. Martin’s Day. As legend has it, whilst trudging through a snowstorm at the edge of the Roman Empire, a Roman soldier named Martin came upon a beggar lying in a snowdrift surely about to freeze. Despite his status within the Legion in which he served, he heard the desperate pleas of the man and sought to help him by cutting his cloak in half. The story goes that after sharing his cloak with the man, Martin had a dream in which he was approached by Christ who told him that it was he who was the beggar on the side of the road. He devoted himself then and there to helping others and is celebrated on this day across Europe as St. Martin. His name has come to symbolize putting the well-being of others before your own. A metaphor for sacrifice.

I love to hear stories, fables, and legends about people in high standing helping those in need. Stories like these, to me, represent the kernel of goodness from which “Pharma For Good” grows. There is so much we can do for each other, and so much we can learn from each other, but only if we set our differences aside and communicate.

As a child, I remember celebrating the Feast of St. Martin in my hometown of Bonn the traditional way, with paper lanterns, Weckmänner, and roast goose. The captivating tale of altruism and kindness is one that I feel resonates with every culture and religion on the planet, which is why I chose to teach my children about it. I’m very proud of my two children for their understanding of the true meaning of this holiday. My daughter Victoria even gave a presentation on the holiday to her classmates when she was in kindergarten.

This folktale from my culture inspires me: a man who brought light into the world by sacrificing privilege and comfort for another who had none.

Stories unite us, bind us, and make us who we are - I’d love to hear yours.


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