Tuesday, November 11, 2014
My Memory of the St. Martin's Day Lantern Procession  

In Fifth Grade, I lived in Heidelberg, Germany, and I attended an American school. At least once a week, we received instruction in German from a nice native speaker who patiently taught us number, colors, key phrases, and lessons about German culture.

One of my main memories of her instruction is when she had us make St. Martin's Day lanterns. In Germany, and other European countries, St. Martin's day processions with lanterns are very popular. At the time, it seemed much better known than Halloween among the Germans, and it was a fun event to celebrate the saint's day on November 11th.

The lantern which I made was from sturdy black paper, It was rectangular in shape with four sides that allowed spaces for light to shine out of the lantern. We glued brightly colored tissue paper over the spaces which gave the lantern a stained glass window effect.

The highlight was that we actually took part in the city's procession. I do not have strong memories of the parade, but I remember that I carried a wooden dowel with a hook at the end which held the lantern aloft as my friends and I walked down the Hauptstrasse. It certainly must have been a beautiful sight to see all those candle-lit lanterns light up the dark November night.

Our German teacher certainly told us the story of St. Martin and his generosity toward the beggar. However, it is the memory of my making and carrying the lantern that has remained with me over the years.

I was not a Catholic at the time, and it would be many years before I would enter the Catholic Church. However, I recognize that this was another of His seeds of faith which He planted and then continued to grow over the years in order to draw me to Himself and His Church. I am very grateful for this seed and the happy memories it brings.


Posted by David at 12:30 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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