celebrating martinmas – lantern festival – 11th November 2018
“I go with my bright little lantern,My lantern it goes with me,In heaven, the stars are shining,On earth, shines my lantern for meMy light shines bright, dark is the night,Rabimmel, Rabummel, Rabum”
The legend of St Martin comes from France, where there once was a young man who passed under an archway in the city of Amiens and discovered a poor beggar, shivering with cold, huddled there. On seeing him, Martin took his own thick, red cloak from his shoulders, tore it in half and covered the poor man to warm him. The following night he had a wondrous dream full of angels and saw Christ wearing the same piece of cloak he had given the beggar. The experience confirmed to him his devotion to all mankind regardless of their station in life and he went on to become the patron saint of beggars and outcasts, and known for his gentleness and his ability to bring warmth and light to those previously in darkness. (Shown below is the beautiful ostheimer St Martin set).
On the evening of martinmas he is remembered in many french households with a festival of lanterns, carrying the light through the darkened home, singing songs and sharing food. Martinmas is also celebrated in many countries and in waldorf schools around the world with magical lantern walks accompanied by special songs, finishing with sharing bread around a fire, it is one of the most beautiful festivals of the year and coincides with many other lantern celebrations and traditions this time of year brightening the darker evenings.
As we start to enter the darkest time of year and draw nearer to advent and the solstice, this wondrous festival of gently glowing lights, lanterns, fires and sharing, kindles the warmth and light in our hearts.
martinmas craft – making lanterns
There are lots of fun way to make lanterns with children at this time of year to light the home and take on lantern walks. Above we have used the origami lantern paper – flame resistant paper for making origami lanterns, pretty tea light holders or strings of mini lights. It folds easily, is long lasting and can be painted and decorated with magical results.
You can even make lanterns from watercolour paintings: After wet-on-wet painting on some Aquarelle paper and letting it dry, oil the paper to make it more transparent (and it allows the light to shine through even more beautifully). Fold and cut paper 1-2 cm apart along fold, and cut tabs along one long side for lantern base. Staple or glue together. Fold base flaps, and insert a disc of cardboard (re-use some food packaging) and then using paper glue, stick together. Let glue dry. Fix beeswax tealight to base with sticky wax . Make a handle with yarn leftovers or wire, and fix to the top of the lantern, ready for a walk! For greater safety, hang the lantern from a wire hook attached to a stick.