Writing was going great for NaNoWriMo (12,000+ words) until the kids got sick. First Maya, then Liam, then Maya again, and I quickly followed with this odd high fever/stomach virus loveliness. So 2 days out of commission, and I have to try to catch up…tonight!
In the meantime, the kids missed their St. Martin’s Day parade, a big deal here in Frankfurt. St. Martin’s is celebrated on the 11th day of the 11th month at exactly 11 minutes past 11 o’clock. The holiday originated from France, then spread to Germany, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. It is one of the most popular of all the saints’ days.
St. Martin’s day celebrates the end of the agrarian year and the beginning of the harvest. It also marks the end of the period of all souls that began on November, 1st with All Saints’ Day. In Germany, St. Martin’s day’s activities resemble those celebrated on Halloween in other parts of the world.
Children walk down the streets with handmade lanterns and sing Martin’s songs that praise the saint’s generosity. Martinstag is all about giving to others and shedding light in the darkness….like so many ancient holidays that have survived in modified form during this time of year.
Children visit neighborhood homes and earn sweets by singing songs, dancing, or citing poems.
Maya and Liam’s school parade began at the school and included a walk down to the park, ending with a bonfire and the eating of the traditional Weckmänner (“sweet bread men”).
Maya still had a 102.5 fever, so to make her feel a little better, we had out own St. Martin’s Parade with the lanterns that Maya and I made last week in school (and handy lantern sticks and lights that I picked up at the store). Here’s a picture of the kids with their lanterns (they’re in their pajamas because they just got out of the bath).
We walked all around the house several times singing a made-up St. Martin’s song, and then we had our dinner by lantern-light. The kids loved it.
So now, back to writing…