Martinmas is coming! Our family is hosting the Lantern Walk for our Waldorf homeschooling group for the third year in the row and this year I am really excited because Jodie from over at Home Music Making is leading us all in song! (Her blog is here: http://www.homemusicmaking.blogspot.com/ – You can start learning “The Pumpkin Pie” song to sing as entertainment after Thanksgiving dinner! That is one of our traditions, but I am digressing). If you and your homeschool group need festival music, perhaps you would consider contacting Jodie to assist you!
At any rate, Jodie has come up with a song for us to sing and act out during our Circle Time, a song to sing whilst we are getting ready and a song to sing whilst we are walking. Our Lantern Walk always ends in a small playground surrounded by woods and it is lovely lit up by all the lanterns, and after that we all walk to my house to eat! It is very reverent until we get to the merriment of eating, but since our Advent Spiral is coming and that is especially solemn, so we decided on this format for the Lantern Walk. It is a wonderful family event for Dads to network as well. For a different take on this event, please see the beautiful suggestions here: http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2009/10/creating-a-festival.html
Martinmas is on November 11th, and is a wonderful festival. “All Year Round” says this on page 163: “This day celebrates the burial of St Martin of Tours (316-397 AD) who devoted much of his life to establishing Christianity in France, and became one of her patron saints.” Many of you know the story he was most famous for – that of meeting a poor beggar at the city gate, who was shivering in the cold. Martin drew his sword and cut his own cloak in two and gave one half to the beggar. Legend has it that Christ appeared to Martin in a dream the following night dressed in the piece of cloak Martin had cut.
“All Year Round” goes on to remark, “ Martin’s half cloak brought hope and comfort to the beggar-his compassionate gesture may warm us also, and protect us from wintry despair.” We carry lanterns as a symbol of the small light we can shine into the dark world.
A Martinmas meal is typically very simple and sometimes includes a food that can be cut in half and shared with your family member next to you in the same gesture of Martin cutting his cloak in half and giving it away. Some European nations used to celebrate with the eating of a goose for that special meal; (it is said honking geese gave St. Martin away when he was hiding from people who wanted to make him Bishop!). It also is a festival of harvest, preparation for Winter. Tell me what you are eating on Martinmas, my dear European readers! And my new readers from Hungary, do you all celebrate Martinmas? Martin was born in Hungary, after all!
Music is also at the heart of this festival, and there are many wonderful Lantern songs that can be found in “Festivals, Families and Food”. This includes “The Sunlight Fast is Dwindling”, “Glimmer Lantern Glimmer” and “Father Sky”. There are many, many others!
Another thing to consider is the act of giving things away at this time of year in the spirit of Martin. Giving away warm coats, sweaters, etc to those who have none seems especially appropriate this time of year. You may decide this a wonderful time to deal with some of the clutter within your house and a great time to give it all away!
Much peace to you as you celebrate this special day!