11.11.2008

St. Martin's Day or Martinstag




St. Martin is a cherished man who was a Roman soldier in the 4th century who later became a monk and led a simple life. He cut his cloak in half to provide a beggar with warmth during a snowstorm. In Germany, on the eve or on November 11th, children celebrate this man's generosity by making paper lanterns and parading through the streets singing songs about him. It is implied that the children are also singing for treats, similar to a Halloween tradition.

Last night we met at Ryan's school and watched a brief presentation by the school children (in German, of course) on St. Martin. The school children had made these amazing brightly colored lanterns-suns, owls, penguins, multi-colored. They were beautiful!

We then lit our paper lanterns with these little electric light wands and followed the parade through the town. Every so often the band that accompanied us would stop and play a song. It was amazing how the townspeople all gathered around and watched-taking pictures and singing along. Watching others seems to be a popular pastime here. I like that the pace of life is slower here.

We returned to the school and stood around the bonfire and ate pretzels and bratwurst. They were also serving hot Gluwein and a "kinderpunch" (a warm , fruity drink).

St. Martin's day is also associated with goose (ugh-not a fan) and the beginning of the fasching season. Let the fasching begin!

(Of course, I cannot get our pictures to upload. I will post them when possible. I found some other online images-you get the idea).

3 fabulous friends:

Jen said...

sounds like a great day.

Bilary said...

That sounds like lots of fun. I love that your kids get to experience all of these different holiday traditions from different countries.

The slower paced life sounds heavenly. I would love it!

MamaNeena said...

What a great celebration!