Laternenfest is a celebration of St Martin’s Day, November 11. This is a new holiday for us. I don’t recall ever hearing about it when growing up in the states or even over the last couple years here in Germany. But now, as parents, we’re learning about Germany’s family culture.
Here’s a brief summary of the story of St Martin:
St Martin was a Roman soldier who tore his cloak in half to share it with a beggar man to save him from freezing to death in a snowstorm. St Martin dreamt that Jesus was the beggar man and he was later baptized a Christian and became a monk.
To celebrate, children carry lanterns and walk the streets singing St Martin songs. Nay-nay and the other kids at daycare painted and made their own lanterns. Then all parents, siblings, and even some grandparents arrived and we had a supper together before hitting the streets.
I go with my lantern, and my lantern with me
Above shine the stars and here below we shine
A sea of lights to honor Martin
Rabimmel, rabommel, rabum (nonsense words, I suppose similar to bing, bang, boom etc)
Here’s another article that gives more details about how the event is celebrated. As the kids get older the celebration gets more involved!
****As I’m about to publish this, I realize that November 11 is Veteran’s day in the states…no doubt that’s why I had never heard of St Martins day. Love you Grandpa Jerry.