St. Martin’s Day

I threw a lot of stuff at you last Friday.  One of the things I tossed out there had to do with St. Martin’s Day.  This is the whole kids + real candles = perfectly okay in Germany.  That’s not the kind of math this mama is used to.

Nothin' like a flame to make a preschooler smile.

We live in a very Catholic part of Germany; as such, celebrating saints is the thing to do.  St. Martin’s Day is huuuuuge.  Celebrated every November 11, this holiday commemorates St. Martin of Tours who sliced his coat in half to share with a cold beggar during a snowstorm.  Since this occurred in the pre-LED era, St. Martin could only have discovered said beggar while carrying a lantern.  To celebrate this act of kindness by the saint, children make, decorate, light up, and carry around lanterns while singing songs about this man.

Lighting up.

That’s all lovely and nice, but two things were totally weird to me.  First, the lantern has a real, live, I’m-about-to-singe-your-eyebrows-off candle in it.  I do not understand why the Germans think it is totally cool to have scores of children under the age of 5 gallivanting about with flame throwers that threaten to give the pretty girls smokin’ new hairstyles.  Lucky for us, this didn’t happen at our kindergarten.  Screech did, however, pick up and drop T-Rex’s lantern which extinguished the light and helped me breathe just a bit easier.

Whoa, mama. Whoa.

Second, the Germans’ attitude toward rain is this: there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.  Huh?!  I find it ridiculous to stand out in the spitty drizzle when a perfectly dry building is open and available.  Not that I have a problem with rain – but standing about in it just for the heck of it is not my idea of a good time.

The after-party in the rain.

The St. Martin church in our city had a big celebration last Sunday for this holiday.  Or so I’m told.  We were given an invitation by the kindergarten to the events at the church.  We couldn’t make the early ones because of naps.  I wanted more pictures to show you (ones that didn’t require a flash) but the invitation was wrong.  Or I was wrong.  The American is always wrong.  We showed up for a 430pm event that apparently was just a joke for the dumb foreigners.  The real deal started at 6pm.  So, the stupid Yanks went home, stuffed their faces with pasta, and put the boys to bed early.

Have you ever heard of St. Martin’s day?  What do you think of this holiday?

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