Happy Martinmas! Never heard of it? Well I hadn’t either until one of my homeschooling friends sent me an invitation to a lantern walk. Always one to look for new traditions to begin with my family I was intrigued and did a little research.
Martinmas falls on November 11th, it is an ancient catholic festival in honor of St. Martin who was the patron saint of lost souls known for his kindness and generosity. It is still widely celebrated in Europe and worldwide by families who follow the Waldorf style of teaching. We are neither catholic nor Waldorf but the sentiment behind this holiday can be embraced by anyone!
“The sunlight fast is dwindling
My little lamp needs kindling
Let your light shine bright
Into the darkest night
Little lantern guide me
With your precious light”- M. Meyerkort
With winter fast approaching the days are getting shorter and the darkness seems to be taking over. Martinmas is about finding the powerful light within ourselves to carry us through those dark days. On this day children can make lanterns and take an early evening stroll with their friends and family, sing together, and see how one fragile light can shine bright through the darkness and guide them on their way.
We celebrated by gathering with several families in a park and enjoying a potluck dinner while all of our children ran around and played. They had all made lanterns which we all placed on a table together to admire. As the sun went down we came together and began singing the first verse of “this little light of mine” and walked around the block together still singing. It was a beautiful site to see and the sweet voices of the little ones made it truly lovely.
The lantern walk is something I plan on recreating year after year with my family and friends. It is a charming custom that gives you the opportunity to open up conversations with your children about the spark inside of them, about empathy, charity, and the power of kindness and to share a meal and fresh air with the ones you love.
I’d love to hear about how you incorporated the spirit of Martinmas into your Monday and also to see those wonderful lanterns so please share!