Maja here! I am actually staying with my friend Sammy in Germany right now. And I just have to tell you about the fun we had tonight!
Sammy has lived here for a while, so she knows all the traditions. This afternoon, she surprised us with some colored paper, rods and candles. She got us making lanterns! Us, that´s her friend Hayley and me.
Here we are with our self-made lanterns before setting out. When it started to get dark, we lit our lanterns and went to the church square where the crowd was gathering for the St. Martin´s lantern procession. I was excited as we don´t have that tradition in Sweden. We just have goose for dinner on the eve of St. Martin´s day. Which is actually on November 11, but Sammy said it´s usual that processions are held some days before or after so they don´t clash, and ours was today.
There were children of all ages, some accompanied by their parents, the older ones on their own. Some had store-bought lanterns, others had made theirs just like we had.
Finally, the procession got going. We walked through the district singing St. Martins´ songs such as “Laterne, Laterne, Sonne Mond und Sterne” (lantern, lantern, sun, moon and stars) or “Ich geh mit meiner Laterne und meine Laterne mit mir – da oben leuchten die Sterne, hier unten leuchten wir” (I´m walking with my lantern, and my lantern comes with me – the stars shine up in heaven and we shine here below).
And of course “St Martin war ein guter Mann” (St Martin was a good man). Sammy and Hayley had taught me the songs this afternoon while we were crafting, but they said it´s okay if I forgot some of the words. “Just sing la la la”. And so I did.
It was neat walking around the place in the dark. All the lanterns were so pretty!
And St. Martin himself was leading us on his horse.
Finally, we had reached the market square. Everyone gathered around and we watched Martin meet the beggar and share his coat.
Long before Martin became a saint, he was a Roman soldier. He was a kind and gentle man, and one day, he gave half of his coat to a beggar to save him from freezing to death. Did I mention that it was pretty cold outside? I was glad I had my jacket.
Afterwards, free Martinsbrezeln were given out to us children.
Unlike regular Brezeln, which are lye pastry and sprinkled with salt, these are sweet yeast pastry and sprinkled with sugar.
After walking around in the fresh air, I really wanted to eat mine right away, but Sammy told me to hold off till we were back home.
And she was right – it was twice as nice with some hot milk and cocoa!