Tag Archives: Laternenfest

Saint Martin’s Day – Lanterns, ‘Weckmänner’ and more


Laterne! Laterne! Sonne, Mond und Sterne…

A ‘Sankt Martin’s Tag’ lantern parade is a beloved tradition for children in Germany. Saint Martin’s Day is celebrated on November 11th and I remember it as a day that rang in the joyful winter season that culminates in the year’s most festive celebration, Christmas. As a tasty precursor to all the delicious Christmas cookies, kids are offered “Weckmänner”that day, a pastry that’s made of sweet leavened dough, in the form of a man.

GermanPacificSchool in San Diego and GermanSchoolCampus in Newport Beach, both had their lantern parades already early this year and they sent us some cool pictures. While GermanSchoolCampus celebrated in Irvine and walked along Woodbridge lake, GermanPacificSchool had its lantern walk on Mission Bay combined with a bonfire on the beach.

To get you in the right holiday mood here in sunny California we have put together a little compilation of Saint Martin’s Day celebrations in SoCal for you! 

If you live in Northern California, watch out for lantern parade happenings this weekend! Two we have listed for you right here:

1 ) German Language School of Marin has its Laternenfest in Novato & Santa Rosa on Saturday, November 12 at 5:30pm!

2 ) Bay Area Kinderstube in Albany has a Laternenfest for all, who live in the Berkeley/San Francisco area on Saturday, November 12 at 4:00pm. (Check out our earlier post on this topic that offers more details on where & when)

Get in the right mood for Saint Martin’s Day with our slide show:

Slide-Show Images: GermanSchoolCampus & GermanPacificSchool
Image: “Kinder beim Martinssingen”, © Superbass / CC-BY-SA-4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)




Halloween & Saint Martin’s Lantern Parades in California


November is here in less than a week! This is the month when winter sneaks up on us with its dark and foggy days – at least in Germany…

November 1st usually has a melancholy note, when many families in Germany observe Allerheiligen and Allerseelen ( All Saints & All Souls Day) by visiting graves of their deceased loved ones. Therefor we are looking forward to festive events like Saint Martin’s Day with its lantern parades, and the First Advent, that often starts towards the end of November, and which will bring us closer to the much anticipated Christmas celebration.

As expats, we love to enjoy some of our German traditions also in our country of choice and here, in California, German schools are doing a great job in honoring these. And so, around November 11th, the official Saint Martin’s Day, you might even find some Saint Martin’s Day celebrations wtih a traditional lantern parade in your proximity. At some events you are invited to build your own lantern while enjoying some Glühwein and getting into holiday mood!

Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool in West L.A. is starting out early this year with a special Enchanted Halloween which is taking place already this weekend!!

GermanSchoolCampus in Newport Beach, Bay Area Kindergarten in Berkeley/Albany, GISSV in San Francisco, German Pacific School in San Diego, all have their events in the beginning of November 2016!

Please find detailed information on each event below:


Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool -ENCHANTED HALLOWEEN  Saturday, October 29, 4:30pm

This is an evening of magic and enchantment for the children, and it is open to the community. Our annual event is for children ages one to seven. Please come by and wear your not scary (!) costume. It’s a magical evening where the Queen of Fairies will enchant the children! 

Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool       
3170 Stoner Avenue,
Mar Vista,
CA 90066

For questions contact us at TivoliRainbowGarden @gmail.com

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Suggested Donation: $10


GermanSchoolCampus in Newport Beach                                          Saturday, November 5th at 6:30 pm

Join us in our Lantern Parade in Irvine, in front of Ute’s Kinderschule, on Saturday, November 5th at 6:30pm. Please notify us of your attendance so we can plan accordingly and be sure to have enough lanterns and don’t forget to bring a jacket!

Like last year we are planning on ordering the “Weckmännchen,” a special pastry tradition on St. Martin’s Day. We will also have a snack and Lemonade for after the parade. Please pre-order your “Weckmännchen” to be sure that your child will get one and will not be left out. Price is only $10 each!

Children under age of 6 please contact Frau Ute at:
Ute Chiu (uteskinderschule@gmail.com)
Children above 7 years please contact Frau Ursula at: Ursula.Schoeneich@Germanschoolcampus.com

Children need to be chaperoned by their parents!


Laternenfest at Bay Area Kinderstube in Albany                            Saturday, November 12 at 4:00pm

Come celebrate the German tradition of St. Martin’s Day with us at Bay Area Kinderstube in Albany!
See our children perform on stage, sing songs with us, and join our annual lantern parade. You can bring your own lantern or buy one from us!
Enjoy seasonal treats including “Glühwein” (mulled wine), beer, hot chocolate, grilled sausages, “Weckmänner” (a German sweet bread) and soft pretzels.
Don’t miss the chance to win one of many incredible gift baskets at our raffle!

Bay Area Kinderstube
842 Key Route Boulevard
Albany, CA 94706

Admission fee:
$2 individual / $5 family


GISSV – Schule  – GISSV San Francisco Campus (4 & 8 Funston Avenue) Saturday, November 5 at 3 PM – 7 PM

Save the date and join us for the 2nd annual GISSV San Francisco Laternenfest/Lantern Festival & Parade in the Presidio on Saturday, November 5 from 3 to 7 pm!

Join us for a fun and festive afternoon in the Presidio! There will be crafts, lantern making, food, drinks and a lantern parade around the neighborhood.

Schedule of Events

CRAFTS + ACTIVITIES (in + around 4 Funston Ave)
3:00 – 4:30 pm: Lantern Making Craft
3:00 – 4:15 pm: Kinder Program Activities (Face-Painting, Games, etc)

PERFORMANCES (lawn between 4 & 5 Funston Ave)
4:30 – 5:15 pm

LANTERN PARADE (start at 4 Funston Ave)
5:30 – 6:00 pm

3:00 – 7:00 pm: Bake Sale, Pretzels + Coffee, Water and Apple Spritzer (Apfelschorle)
4:00 – 7:00 pm: Hot Cider + Puch for Children (Kinderpunsch)
4:00 – 7:30 pm: Little Red Riding Truck

For more information, visit gissv.org/laternenfest


Albert Einstein Academy San Diego                                                      Saturday, November 5th, 4-7pm

The 15th Annual Lantern Festival will take place at the AEA Elementary School on Saturday, November 5th, 2016 from 4-7 pm. It has become a wonderful tradition for the whole family to enjoy. Join us in celebrating a 100-year-old German tradition with food and drinks, singing, and ending with a traditional lantern walk around the neighborhood.

In the spirit of Saint Martin’s gift to a coatless beggar, we will be collecting gently used coats and blankets for those in need again this year. The collection for these items will start a few days before the festival.

Please join us for a bratwurst dinner, bake sale, and music. The event will end with a Lantern Parade around the neighborhood.

Students in grades K-4 will be crafting Lanterns with their German teachers. If you have a younger or older child that is interested in making a Lantern to carry for the walk, please visit this Lantern Crafting website for ideas and templates. Sticks and lights for the Lanterns will be available for purchase at the event.

For more information on the St. Martin’s Day Tradition and Laternenumzug, please check this out Martinstag (St. Martin’s Day).

Date and Time
Saturday, November 5th, 2016, 4-7 pm

Albert Einstein Academies Elementary School
3035 Ash St, San Diego, CA, 92102 (map)


German Pacific School San Diego                                                               Sunday, November 6th,  4:30-6:30pm

GPSSD is planning its Lantern Parade for Sunday, 6. November from 4pm-6:30pm in Mission Bay, with Brats, Sauerkraut and ‘Weckmänner’. Join them for a parade, a campfire and a ‘half’-potluck in Mission Bay!

Please bring a small dish to share 🙂

For more information on exact location and time, please contact the school at germanpacificschool@gmail.com or call (858)-461-9118


German Language School of Marin                                                                 Saturday, November 12th, 5:30pm

Join the German Language School of Marin on November 12 at 5:30pm for a Laternenfest in Novato & Santa Rosa!

Lantern Festival, Music Parade, and Refreshments

We will have a lantern parade and refreshments will be available. We’ll meet at the locations below to light our lanterns (with flameless candles) before beginning our parade. Afterwards we will have hot chocolate and Weckmänner cookies available if desired.

In Novato
We will meet on Saturday, November 12 at 5:30pm at Pioneer Park in Novato (map it). Help us plan! Please RSVP to Kristina Paster, Events Manager, by email, call us at 415.897.9771, or let us know during school on Saturday if you would like to join us and would like cookies.

In Santa Rosa
We will meet on Saturday, November 12 at 5:30pm at our school campus in Santa Rosa (map it). Please RSVP to Susanne Ivarson, Santa Rosa Campus Manager, by email, call us at 415.897.9771, or let us know during school on Saturday if you would like to join us and would like Weckmänner cookies.

The parade is free! Only $5 per person if you would like a cup of hot chocolate and Weckmänner cookies afterward. Everyone is welcome, so bring friends!



Weckmann Stutenkerl – Gebildebrot aus Hefeteig mit Pfeife (WikiMediaCommons)




St. Martin’s Day and Lantern Parades in CA

Sankt Martin Edit

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 principal@germanschoolcampus.com               As a special treat, there will be ‘Weckmänner’ (a traditional pastry) for the children to eat after the event.  A dona􏰀tion of $10 to the schools would be appreciated.

Los Angeles: 

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

Menlo Park:

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)


Enchanted Halloween and Lantern Parade for children in L.A.


Holiday celebrations are approaching slowly and we know that the year is coming to an end whether we like it or not.

The countdown starts out with the American celebration of Halloween on October 31, which is a much more fun way to start into November than the observation of our German holidays Allerseelen and Allerheiligen on November 1 and 2.

Shortly after, children in Germany are looking forward to celebrate Saint Martin’s Day. Highlight of that special day on November 11 is the traditional Lantern parade when kids present their often hand crafted lanterns to their friends while walking the neighborhood and singing lantern songs.

Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool in Los Angeles has these two events covered for you and your children.

If you are looking for some Halloween Party for your youngsters with a little German touch, then this might be for you.


Meet the Queen of Fairies in the Sparkling Garden of Lights and get enchanted with her magic!  All children ages one to seven are welcome. Come in your favorite costumes, but please no scary ones.

Please RSVP to TivoliRainbowGarden@gmail.com

WHEN: Sunday, October 26th at 6:45pm

WHERE:  Tivoli Rainbow Garden School , 3170 Stoner Ave, Mar Vista, CA 90066

LATERNENUMZUG – Lantern Parade in West L.A.

Walk your lantern with other children in West L.A. at the Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool!

WHEN:  Wednesday, 12. November 2014

WHERE:  Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool, 3170 Stoner Ave , Mar Vista, CA 90066

INFO:  http://www.tivolikindergartenla.com



Sybille Cohen : Thinking Adventure Only – Settling for a Lifetime

-A CaliforniaGermans Interview-

Sybille Cohen originally from Hamburg, moved to Northern California in 2001. She is director of the Bay Area KinderStube (short BAKS) a full-immersion German-language preschool for children between the ages of 2.5 and 5 years in Albany, a city very close to Berkeley. She has been teaching children from infants to preschool age over her extensive career and taught also as a teacher at the German Language School in Novato.

When coming to California initially, she didn’t have much of a plan but was ready for an adventure. And in fact the trip turned into the adventure of her lifetime. During her stay she met her now husband and made California her home.

Sybille you arrived in California about 10 years ago. What made you leave Germany?                                                                                                                                          This is a great question. I think I was just ready for a change and an adventure. I wanted to do something completely new. I had not seen or traveled ever before so I took a sabbatical from work and just went. California came to mind because I had a friend whose aunt lives here in San Anselmo. I just wanted to experience something new and get to know a different culture.

What was your first impression when you arrived here in CA?
.         Boy, arriving in the states was quite a shock. Everything was so big and enormous, the stores, the freeways, … On the other hand I was very surprised how friendly the Americans are. Always willing to help no matter if I had trouble with the car I rented or if I needed driving directions…

How long did you initially plan on staying in the USA?                        
.        Initially I had planned on staying for 6 month. But everything changed when I met my husband to be. During my stay I was asked if I would like to work as an Au pair for a widowed father who had two boys. I took the job and a couple of months later I found myself in love with the nicest man I’ve ever met, the dad himself! When my visa was about to expire there weren’t many options for us to have me staying longer especially since this was after 9/11. After consulting with an immigration lawyer we spontaneously decided to get married, and this after only nine months of being together! Would I have ever done something like this in Germany? Hell no! But it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Since it was such an unforeseen change in plan, was it hard leaving family in Germany behind? What was your family’s reaction?
.       It was very difficult to leave family and friends behind! It was probably one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make. For many years I lived in, or better between two worlds, which means, when I was in Germany I wanted to be in the US and vice versa. By now I am content and I enjoy my stays in Germany and am happy when I’m home. Home for me now is California.                        Moving to California turned out to be a very tough change for my family back in Germany. The one most affected by it was my mother since I have a very close connection with her. But in the long run we rearranged our lives and we found a way that it now works for both sides. I’m trying to visit them once a year at least, which is very important to me, especially now as they get older.

Given the option, would you consider moving back to Germany at some point?
.       This is a tricky question. At this point in my life I’m not considering moving back to Germany because everything my life revolves around is here. The US has become my home. Germany on the other hand will always be special for me, since this is where I’m coming from. I am German in my heart and always will be!

You have been working with BAKS (Bay Area Kinderstube) since 2007 and since 2009 you are the school’s director. Please tell us a bit about BAKS.                                                                                                      BAKS started out as a parent initiative in 1994 and became a private pre-school open to the public in 1997. We are a full immersion German language pre-school, which means that we exclusively speak German with our children. The German language development takes an integral part of the social, emotional, and cognitive development of our children. We not only teach but ‘live’ the language so that it becomes a natural part of our students’ life. We have many different activities throughout the day from reading, singing, art and dancing to nature explorations, and we also cook and bake together. Since this school year we offer also martial art lessons once a week, alternating with yoga sessions as part of our curriculum!

There is a long waiting list to get a space at Bay Area KinderStube. What’s the success of BAKS?
.        In my opinion KinderStube’s success results in the fact that we are not only a childcare center. KinderStube has the feeling of home probably because it is small and therefore homelike. We have no more than 24 children in our morning program. With 4 teachers on site we have a great teacher/child ration of 1:6. In our afternoon session our ration is 2:12. The other component to our success is that we have very compassionate teachers. We always try to understand each child in his or her own way. Our goal is to get the best out of each one of them and make them feel accepted as an individual. We want to give them a feel of belonging.


What are the prerequisites, if any,  for a child to start at BAKS?
.        It is always a plus when the child has already some knowledge of the German Language but it is not a must. The one thing we are looking for is that one parent is able to speak the language and that it is spoken to the child outside of our school.

Can you share some advice with our readers on whether to start their child in a traditional American pre-school or a German immersion pre-school?
.        I do know both school systems and I have to say that the decision which route to go depends really on the parents and on what they think is best for their child. The big difference between these two systems is that the German system is not as academic in preschool and Kindergarten as the American. Kids learn to write and read in first grade, which I think is early enough considering the amount of school years still ahead of the child. But it also depends on the child itself. Is he or she already interested in reading, writing, and wants to learn more the parent should address it as well. On the other hand, is your child not an early “starter “, then don’t worry to give him or her a little more time and let them play a year longer. It won’t matter in the long run.

Sybille, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your insights with us. We wish you and BAKS continued success!


For more information on BAKS please visit the school website at: http://www.kinderstube.org/home.html

If you would like to visit BAKS – Bay Area KinderStube, you can just call for an appointment or come by to the “Laternenfest” (lantern fest) this Sunday November 13th at 5pm. There will be Glühwein, Hot chocolate “Weckmänner” and Hot Dogs . For sale will also be German children books and lanterns for the children who don’t have any but would like to participate at the lantern walk.

The festive evening will start out with fall season’s songs and have its highlight in the presentation of the St. Martin’s play presented by the KinderStube “Füchse”. The following lantern procession will conclude the evening. At the end there will be a raffle with 5 opulently filled Gift baskets with the proceeds going towards buying new wood chairs and tables for the school.

BAKS – Bay Area KinderStube
842 Key Route Boulevard
Albany, CA 94706
(510) 525-3105

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