Sunday, 9 November 2008

St. Martin's day

Nov 11 is St. Martin's day. It is dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. The legend goes that he was riding on his horse in winter time when he came past a poor beggar sitting in the snow and freezing. St. Martin did not hesitate but shared his coat with the poor man cutting it in twain with his sword. Some time later Jesus did appear to St. Martin several times wearing exactly this piece of coat.

In Germany, tradition has it that children create some lanterns and on - or around - St. Martin's day take a walk on early evening with their lanterns lighted. Usually someone on a horse clad in the traditional clothes of St. Martin leads the group and everyone sings the traditional songs about St. Martin. And most of the times the destination is a large square with a large open fire.

In the part of Heidelberg where I live this procession was today. Of course we joined - as we have done since our daughter was two and could do a reasonable walk. Now, with 9, she starts feeling bored - but still enjoys the sweetbread every child gets at the end of the procession. Our son, though, is still very enthusiastic about the walk, his lantern, the songs, the bonfire - and the sweetbread.

No comments: