The legend of Saint Martin, Lantern Parades and where to celebrate it here in CA
The end of Halloween marks the start of the festive season here in the USA. In Germany however that important day heralding that winter and in fact Christmas season is almost here, is Saint Martin’s Day traditionally celebrated on November 11th, the day where the USA observes Veterans Day.
Saint Martin’s Day or Sankt Martins Tag is a day that children prepare for with eager anticipation. Already days before you can find children busy at Kindergarten, schools and at home handcrafting their personalized lantern for the ‘Sankt Martins Umzug’, a lantern parade, that usually starts when it is dark in late afternoon. Children then walk together with their lanterns around their neighborhoods and sing traditional songs like “Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond und Sterne….”
Sankt Martin’s Legend
On Saint Martin’s Day we celebrate Martinus, a man, who around 334 A.D. was a soldier for the Roman Empire and on one freezing cold winter night on his way to the city encountered a poor beggar dressed only in rags. Out of pity with the poor man he halted his horse and since he had nothing else to give cut his warm, red soldier cloak in half to give one half to the freezing man. That night it is said that Jesus appeared in Martin’s dream letting him know that it was in fact him Martin had shared the cloak with. After that event Martin got baptized and later in life became bishop of Tours. Legend has it that Saint Martin was reluctant to become bishop and hid in a stable filled with geese. Their cackling however gave away Saint Martin’s hiding place and he was discovered. For that reason the traditional food on Saint Martin’s Day is roasted goose!
Celebrating Saint Martin with a Lantern Parade in California
Ute’s KinderSchule in cooperation with GermanSchoolCampus has a lantern parade in Irvine on November 11, starting at 6pm. Location: 28 Silkgrass, Irvine, CA 92614 . Please confirm your participation by emailing either school: UtesKinderSchule@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org As a special treat, there will be ‘Weckmänner’ (a traditional pastry) for the children to eat after the event. A donation of $10 to the schools would be appreciated.
Tivoli Kindergarten LA has its traditional Lantern Parade on Tuesday, November 10th (!) starting the parade with self made lanterns at 5:30 pm. Meeting point is: Mar Vista Park (picnic tables close to playground), 11430 Woodbine Street, Los Angeles, CA 90066 . The parking lot is on Woodbine Street. For more information please contact: TivoliRainbowGarden@gmail.com
GAIS – German-American International School in Silicon Valley will hold its traditional lantern parade on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. The event will begin with a “Shadow Play” and the lighting of the lanterns, followed by a walk around the neighborhood. Refreshments and Weckmänner will be available for purchase after the walk. Location: 275 Elliott Drive, Menlo Park, CA, 94025 For more information call: 650-324-8617
Image: Gebhard Fugel, German Painter 1863-1939)