Germania Society

Children's Lantern Parade
lead by:
Saint Martin

our Bürgermeisterin

Katy Morgan


This is a German tradition in honor of Sankt Martin.

Join us at 6:30pm at the Germania Clubhaus to learn traditional lantern songs (followed by the lantern parade outside, lead by St. Martin). Bring your own lantern or one will be available for purchase (the lantern, candle and wooden stick to carry the Lantern with) Dress warm as we will sing and walk with our lanterns to the bon fire where all children will receive a Sankt Martin's Weck (pastry). What a wonderful opportunity to learn about and celebrate German childhood traditions.

Hope to see you there.....

Who was St. Martin? Why do german kids walk around with Lanterns to honor him?

Feast day of St. Martin

On November 11th, most Catholics who live in Europe celebrate the feastday of St. Martin. He lived 317-397 AD. He was always very generous, he even gave away some of his military earnings (while he was still a roman soldier) to needy farm families. He is most famous for one special deed: When he was returning to his home on his military horse and a beggar stepped into his path and asked him for alms (alms are handouts). Martin had just given away his last coins, but he did not think it was right to just ride past the beggar, who he felt was in need of his help. He decided, to share his warm wool coat (in german it is called a Mantel) with the beggar. He took his sword and cut the coat in half, gave the beggar one half and kept the other half. He felt if both had half a coat, they had a better chance not to die in the cold winter weather.

That night he had a dream, in which the Lord appeared in his dream, wearing the same half of a coat/cloak. The Lord asked him if he recognized the half of the coat and Martin replied yes. This particular dream convinced him he wanted to convert to Christianity by being baptized.

So he then was baptized and became a monk. Later in his life, all of his good deeds and his generosity resulted in him being chosen as a Bishop of Tours. Martin felt he was not worthy and was hiding (according to legend in a goose house) from those who were announcing the good news. People old and young were looking all over for Martin. At nighttime they lit lanterns to search for him. He was finally found when the geese in the goose house he was hiding in were making loud noises.

There are so many German customs to this day to celebrate this feastday. Children will sing songs in his honor and march with lanterns thru the streets. Many communities will have a reenactment of the holy man's sharing his coat/cloak with the beggar. Little St. Martin's 'Weck' (sweet rolls, sometimes in the shape of a man) are given out to the kids to demonstrate how St. Martin always shared with others.

Legend also suggests, that Martin (not a Saint then) punished the geese who let the people know where he was hiding, by immediately killing one of them for that evenings dinner. Roast goose is the traditional St. Martins day meal across Catholic Germany. Even though this is a mostly Catholic celebration, it is found in parts of the Protestant regions of Germany and many part of Euope, mostly in Catholic regions.

Thanks for showing an Interest in this German tradition and we hope you enjoy this tradtion with us in the coming years as well.

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