Friday, November 13, 2009

St. Martin's Day in the Philippines

November 11 is St. Martin's Day, a German tradition.

What is St. Martin's day? According to :

November 11th is a special day in the U.S., Canada, and German-speaking Europe, but when North Americans are observing Veterans Day/Remembrance Day, most Austrians and German Catholics are celebrating a different kind of holiday. The Feast of Saint Martin, the Germanic Martinstag celebration, is more like Halloween and Thanksgiving rolled into one. Martinstag or Martini commemorates Sankt Martin (c. 317-397), Bishop of Tours, one of the most revered European saints.

The best-known legend connected with Saint Martin is the dividing of the cloak (die Mantelteilung), when Martin, then a soldier in the Roman army, tore his cloak in two to share it with a freezing beggar at Amiens. Today in many parts of Europe the feast is still celebrated by processions of children with candle-lit lanterns (Martinslaternen - see the German children's song "Ich geh mit meiner Laterne") and a banquet of roast goose (die Martinsgans).In former times, Martini was the “official” start of winter and the 40-day Christmas fast. Today Martinstag is the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season in German Europe.

Here in the Philippines, the usual preparations were done.

The kids practiced their songs and their theater piece. The parents were invited to come to school for a day to create lanterns with the kids (see photo below). Aside from crafting lanterns, the kids get to play while the moms and dads get to meet and exchange stories.

During the day itself, we had to gather in an airconditioned auditorium; usually we celebrate on cold winter nights in Germany. Aside from having the usual lanterns, we had to wear warm clothes as the parade is mostly done outside.

That was why it was a pleasant surprise that we could wear whatever we wanted when we celebrated it in the Philippines :)

The kids sang, others played instruments, (see photo above) and they presented a theater piece about the story of St. Martin (see photo below).

What came as a disappointed for the girls was not seeing the St. Martin riding a real horse as what they are used to back in Germany. But they were delighted to see a 'cute' horse on stage.

Here is IC proudly displaying our artwork during the lantern parade. Another surprise for the girls? Instead of getting their St. Martin's mannlein or a bread shaped like the famous gingerbread and a glass of hot kinderpunsch or kiddie punch; they were treated to a feast of different kinds of rolls and cold orange juice (see photo below).

The kids enjoyed the celebration especially since they enjoyed a lot of firsts.

1 comment:

Vlado&Toni said...

St Martin in the Philippines? Do the girls go to a German school? I didn't know they celebrate it there ..

Glad to know the girls could still celebrate good, old German traditions in their new home.