November 11th marks one very anticipated day for children in Germany. Sankt Martins Tag is the unofficial start of the holiday season and with its festive celebration ringing in the magic times ahead and the most favorite holiday sesaon of the year: Christmas.
In Germany it’s custom to celebrate the generous roman soldier, who later got baptized, with a “Laternenumzug”. The celebration starts in the evening when the children gather with their self-made little lanterns for a procession singing St. Martin’s songs. Oftentimes the legend of St. Martin is acted out and brings to life one of the most famous legends about him: Saint Martin was a Roman soldier and a very kind man. Once during a snowstorm, he cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar to save him from dying of the cold.
Traditional is also to hand out “Weckmaenner” a baked ‘man’ reminiscent of a gingerbread man perhaps, but not made of sweet cookie dough but rather formed out of sweet yeast dough. For a recipe follow the link to an article on the German- Info website
Oddly enough November 11 is also the start of the Fasching/Carnival season in Germany. It’s the kick-off for the fool season and Faschings clubs make their plans for upcoming parties and parades.
Here in the US, Veterans Day is being observed on November 11th. It’s a public holiday honoring military veterans.