St. Martin has been a Roman soldier who - according to the legend - shared half his coat with a beggar who would have died because of the cold otherwise. At the beginning of November we have lantern parades in Germany in memory of this legend.

Children create their own lanterns - usually out of paper - in school or kindergarten and at dusk they are lead through the streets of town by a man dressed up as a Roman soldier sitting on a horse singing lantern songs (the kids are supposed to be singing, not the horse) - with the help of brass bands.

After the parade, the kids will get bags of sweets and as that usually is not enough they'll go from house to house and sing to gain more sweets. Unlike Halloween they won't threaten people who don't want to give anything, although I remember songs like "Hier wohnt ein reicher Mann, der uns noch viel geben kann" - so it is better to open the door and donate 8-)

This year I'll have to attend three of such parades, the first one was last Saturday. Sarah was sick so I went with Florian and the lantern he has made in kindergarten last year. I'm looking forward to next Wednesday when Sarah will be with us, it's hard to top the light in the eyes a two year old when she sees all those colorful lanterns. It will also be the debut for Florian's new lantern.

I hope I'll get through this without catching a bad cold.

path: /en/Germany/culture | #