Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sankt Martinszug - St. Martin's

Yesterday was the Saint Martin's Day parade or Sankt Martinszug in our village. It is a very nice tradition that tells a great story about a Saint Martin, who gave up his position in the army to help a beggar with no coat during a snowstorm. He gave up his position because he cut his army coat in half and shared with the poor man. Destruction of army property was against the rules of the army. Martin felt strongly that he had done the right thing and eventually left the army for a life as a monk.

The tradition here is that the children walk with lanterns "Laterne laufen" through the city, arriving at a school usually. Tamara will post some pictures of the kids with their lanterns later. During the march, which is led by St. Martin on a horse, songs are song and there is a quiet reverence and power that comes with the march.

Upon arriving at the school, the story of St. Martin is recounted and more songs are sung. In our village, the school prepared goody bags with walnuts, peanuts, an apple, an orange, and a Weckmann, which is a roll shaped in the form of a man holding a pipe. The pipes are whistles and kids can play with them after eating their Weckmann or Weckmänner. The rolls are only sold in bakeries at this time of year.

After the play, the children go door to door to sing St. Martin's songs, for which they receive candy or fruit. In Düsseldorf people went to business, which stayed open later for the evening, and to friends houses. In our village, most houses around the school had their porch lights on and were ready and waiting with candy or goodies. The kids had tons of candy, but also tons of clementine oranges. I was home with the babies to get them something to eat and get them to bed. Ian was excited about the apples in the St. Martin's bag. He ate two of them (they were small and not too crunchy, which was perfect for Ian and his 6 teeth).

The next day at school, goodies are gathered in for the less fortunate. I'm not sure through what organization the candy is donated to less fortunate families, but the kids were sure excited to bring their candy to school. I never saw that after Halloween.


The picture of St. Martin sharing his coat with the beggar on the bag of goodies from the school:


The St. Martin song, on the back of the bag of goodies from the school:

1 comment:

Briteeyes said...

It must be so exciting to live in a country where you get to watch your children experience new experiences. How wonderful to share with them two cultures!! I wish they would do something like gather candy for the less fortunate after halloween, my kids get way too much! UGH

March 2007