One of the biggest holidays for children in Germany is St. Martin’s Day. St. Martin was a Roman soldier who later became a monk. He was a kind man who lived a quiet and simple life. He was known to be especially kind to children and the poor. The most famous legend of his life is that he cut his cloak in half one night during a snow storm to keep a beggar from freezing. What great values to celebrate, right?!
School children make St. Martin lanterns at school and learn lots of songs about him. Quinnie and Kiera have been practicing the songs for weeks and they are now stuck in my head as well! The lanterns are a BIG DEAL. The kids work on them for weeks. Little kids can buy lantern sticks with an attached tiny light bulb for their lanterns at stores, and the bigger kids get REAL candles inside. Quinnie was SO proud that she got to have a real candle in hers this year.
Tradition is that the students meet at a church (at night) where everybody sings St. Martin songs and lights their lanterns. Then there is a procession to a huge bonfire where St. Martin appears on his horse. Then the children eat Weckmann (a bread man that is lightly sweetened). My girls love Weckmann and have been eating them for weeks! At this time of year you can find them at most bakeries.
Quinnie and a Weckmann
Here are some pics from both of the girls’ St. Martin celebrations…
Quinnie and Opa found St. Martin early!
The horse is even more popular than St. Martin! Quinnie pet it for about 15 minutes- I had to drag her away!
They had a stand where you could buy a Weckmann, Glühwein (warm spiced wine), Frikadelle (small spiced hamburgers), and Wiener Würstchen (little hot dogs).
Check out all of the lanterns around the bonfire!
Ruth, Quinnie, Oma
Quinnie eating Weckmann
Kiera checking out her sister’s lantern with it’s REAL candle