Thursday, 15 November 2012

St. Martin's Day and Lanterns 2012

The 11th of November is St. Martinstag (Saint Martin's Day).

In Germany, children go around the neighbourhood in the evening, ring on doorbells and sing songs. In return, they get rewarded with sweets. (Much nicer than scaring and threatening people like on Halloween!)

This is to celebrate St Martin, a kind knight who was made a saint. One story goes like this: On a cold winter day, Martin was riding on his horse, when he encountered a beggar dressed in rags and freezing cold. Feeling pity, Martin took his sword to his own warm winter coat, cut it in half and gave one half to the beggar. To commemorate this, people also share a baked sweet on St Martin's day.

Another traditions for this day (and the whole of November) is Laternegehen, or to walk in lantern processions. In all German towns you can see children and their parents walking with lanterns, singing songs and lighting up the dark cold winter evenings. Often there are proper processions with brass bands and sometimes they end with a bonfire and hot chocolate.

In many German schools, classes make their own lanterns. So that's what pupils at Ravenscote (one of our feeder primary schools) did this week in their German lessons.

to find out more information about St. Martin's Day, some instructions to make lanterns and links for a song, follow this link:

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