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St Martin’s Day Germany –  What is St Martin’s Tag and how is it Celebrated?

St Martin’s Day Germany – What is St Martin’s Tag and how is it Celebrated?

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I visited Germany in November a few years ago, and was delighted to experience my first St Martin’s Tag (St.Martin’s Day Germany). Kids were out in the neighborhood after dark (which comes VERY EARLY in Nord-Rhine Westfalen in November) on November 11, carrying lanterns on poles, and singing as they walked down the street.

what is st martins tag

Lantern Statue in Bad Homburg 

But what is St Martin’s Day?

On November 11, the life of St.Martin of Tours is celebrated in Catholic regions in Germany with processions and bonfires, as well as a feast. (Like many “fun” holidays, this tradition has spread to Protestant regions as well…).

Children make their own paper lanterns, fasten them to sticks, and walk the neighborhoods singing songs. Often they are led by someone dressed in a St Martin outfit (which looks very much like a Roman Soldier carrying a sword). The procession ends at a bonfire with more singing, and delicious foods. Some children will then go door to door collecting treats like candy or money as a reward for their singing and beautiful lantern (a bit like trick or treating in the US).

what is st martin's day

St Martin’s Day Lantern Parade photo by Stephan Kissling flickr

 

 Who was St Martin?

St Martin's Day Germany

Statue of Saint Martin cutting his cloak in two above the Höchst Castle’s gate. Creative commons photo by Eva K

St Martin of Tours is best known for the story of how he cut his cloak in half during a snowstorm, to share it with a beggar (in images of St Martin, he’s usually holding a sword).  He started out as a Roman Soldier, but then found Christianity, and was baptized. His faith and modesty impressed Church Leaders so much; they made him the Bishop of Tours. After his death, he was canonized, and made the Patron Saint of Modesty and Altruism.

St Martin of Tours is best known for the story of how he cut his cloak in half during a snowstorm, to share it with a beggar (in images of St Martin, he’s usually holding a sword).  He started out as a Roman Soldier, but then found Christianity, and was baptized. His faith and modesty impressed Church Leaders so much; they made him the Bishop of Tours. After his death, he was canonized, and made the Patron Saint of Modesty and Altruism.

According to legend, he really didn’t want the job of Bishop, so he hid from the people of Tours in a barn full of Geese. The Geese honked and gave him away, so today; the traditional St Martin’s Day meal is Roast Goose. (Let that be a lesson!)

St Martin's Day Germany

Traditional St Martin’s day mean… the Geese gave him away, so we eat them. Creative commons photo by Nostrifikator




You Can Celebrate St. Martin’s Day

St martin's day germany

Home Made Lanterns for St Martin’s Day Germany- Pixabay

All you need is a Lantern and some songs.… throw in a bonfire and some wonderful German good, and it’s a party!
I’ve linked some CD’s for songs, and some you tube videos below…

st martin's day germany

Children in a St Martin’s day parade with St Martin on a horse… Bundesarchiv, Bild 194-0273-45

You can Get St Martin’s Day Lanterns

St Martin LanternSt Martin LanternSt Martin LanternMoon and stars lanternMoon and stars lanternMoon and stars lanternPirate lanternPirate lanternPirate lanternUnicorn LanternUnicorn LanternUnicorn LanternFrozen LanternFrozen LanternFrozen Lantern1 Forest animal lantern1 Forest animal lantern1 Forest animal lantern

Build Your Own St. Martin’s Day Lantern

Instruction Books from Germany

Meine LaternenwerkstattMeine LaternenwerkstattMeine LaternenwerkstattMeine erste Laterne: Extra stabil und einfach zu bastelnMeine erste Laterne: Extra stabil und einfach zu bastelnMeine erste Laterne: Extra stabil und einfach zu bastelnLaternen für alle: Die schönsten Ideen für Mädchen und JungenLaternen für alle: Die schönsten Ideen für Mädchen und JungenLaternen für alle: Die schönsten Ideen für Mädchen und Jungen

English Instructions

http://www.ukgermanconnection.org/kids-make-lantern
German Instructions
http://www.kidsweb.de/basteln/laterne.htm
http://www.familie.de/diy/st-martin-laterne-selber-basteln-540299.html

These Lighted Poles make Lanterns Safe!

Lantern Stick HeartLantern Stick HeartLantern Stick HeartLantern stick flashing lightLantern stick flashing lightLantern stick flashing lightLantern StickLantern StickLantern Stick

 

Lantern Kits

Craft Set Lantern Unicorn, St. Martin's Lantern,Craft Set Lantern Unicorn, St. Martin’s Lantern,Craft Set Lantern Unicorn, St. Martin's Lantern,Craft Set Lantern Butterfly, St. Martin's Lantern, Halloween Lantern, Lantern Crafting for Lantern ParadeCraft Set Lantern Butterfly, St. Martin’s Lantern, Halloween Lantern, Lantern Crafting for Lantern ParadeCraft Set Lantern Butterfly, St. Martin's Lantern, Halloween Lantern, Lantern Crafting for Lantern Parade

 

St Martin’s Day Food

 

what is a weckman

Around the Bonfire, people eat sweet pastries and drink warm beverages like Cocoa and Glühwein. At home, Roast Goose is popular.  Looking for a Roast Goose Recipe?

Some children are lucky enough to receive a Weckmann (or Stutenkerl) on St Martin’s Day, Germany. This is a sweet bread roll shaped into a man with raisin eyes and a white clay pipe in his mouth, sold at any bakery or made at home by mom. (My mother tells me that she and her friends would then sneak around smoking with the clay pipe).

Follow this link to make your own Weckmann/ Stutenkerl

A Tonpfeife (clay pipe) is important to complete the look! 
You can order them from Amazon Germany…

Birkmann 196650 Plätzchen-Ausstechform Stutenkerl, Set mit TonpfeifeBirkmann 196650 Plätzchen-Ausstechform Stutenkerl, Set mit TonpfeifeBirkmann 196650 Plätzchen-Ausstechform Stutenkerl, Set mit TonpfeifeTonpfeifen für Stutenkerl (8 cm / 12 Stück)Tonpfeifen für Stutenkerl (8 cm / 12 Stück)Tonpfeifen für Stutenkerl (8 cm / 12 Stück)

Roast Goose is a traditional meal on St Martin’s Day… but around the bonfire, a nice Bratwurst in a Broetchen is perfect.

Gluhwein for the parents… and Hot Cocoa for the Kids…. to keep everyone warm on a cold night.

St Martin’s Day Songs

Ein Bisschen so wie Martin is a book with CD… perfect for learning to sing along.

St. Martin: Lantern SongsSt. Martin: Lantern SongsSt. Martin: Lantern SongsEin bisschen so wie Martin: 22 Lieder zu Laternenfest und Sankt Martin (German Edition)Ein bisschen so wie Martin: 22 Lieder zu Laternenfest und Sankt Martin (German Edition)Ein bisschen so wie Martin: 22 Lieder zu Laternenfest und Sankt Martin (German Edition)

Laterne Laterne

Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond und Sterne.
Brenne auf, mein Licht, brenne auf, mein Licht,
aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht.

Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond und Sterne.
Sperrt ihn ein den Wind, sperrt ihn ein den Wind,
er soll warten bis wir zu Hause Sind.

Ich geh’ mit meine Laterne

Ich geh‘ mit meiner Laterne
Und meine Laterne mit mir.
Dort oben leuchten die Sternen,
und unten, da leuchten wir.
Mein Licht ist aus,
ich geh’ nach Haus,
rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

And When it’s Time to Go Home…

Mein Licht ist aus,
ich geh’ nach Haus,
rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

 

Want to Learn More About Celebrating St Martin’s Day?

This Book by Conrad Bladey is loaded with information. You can find it as a Paperback, but it’s cheaper if you download it for Kindle (remember, you don’t need to have a Kindle, you just need the app on your computer or device.

Celebrating St. Martin's Day November 11 In Germany. A guide to the celebration of St. Martin of ToursCelebrating St. Martin’s Day November 11 In Germany. A guide to the celebration of St. Martin of ToursCelebrating St. Martin's Day November 11 In Germany. A guide to the celebration of St. Martin of Tours

See the Massive St Martins Celebration in Buschdorf

st martin's day germany


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