Celebrating Martinmas

Celebrating Martinmas

This Sunday we celebrated the feast of St. Martin of Tours, or Martinmas.

Making lanterns, and then going on a lantern walk, is one of the usual Martinmas traditions. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain, so we decided to stay inside. We had a great time making these paper lanterns. Even Aiden was able to participate (using a safety scissors with Grandma’s help, while I held my breath, ready to dial 911 in case he cut off a finger. You know, typical mom stuff).

We hung our lanterns from the dining room light. They looked pretty festive, if I do say so myself!

*Not pictured: the other three dozen lanterns we made. Lantern making is very relaxing, and we may have gone a little overboard.*

Celebrating Martinmas with Lanterns

Another Martinmas tradition is serving Martinshörnchen, a croissant-shaped pastry that symbolizes the hooves of St. Martin’s horse. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the ingredients on hand to make croissants, so we made horseshoe-shaped cookies, instead. We used the Cinnamon-Sugar Grinder from Trader Joe’s to top them, and they were a hit! The kids loved rolling them out and shaping them.

Celebrating Martinmas - Martinshörnchen Cookies

Goose is another traditional Martinmas food. The legend is that St. Martin was reluctant to become a bishop. When the time came for him to be appointed, he hid in a barn full of geese, but their noisy honking gave him away. Goose is a little tricky to find, so we decided to use chicken.

Celebrating Martinmas - Martinmas Chicken

We have some very picky eaters in our house, so we made up a couple alternatives to the chicken. Baked macaroni and cheese, chili, and dinner rolls meant there was something for everyone!

Celebrating Martinmas with a Feast

We also served up homemade cranberry sauce, coleslaw, and gluten-free vanilla honey cornbread. Delicious!

Everyone had a great time celebrating Martinmas. The feast was the highlight of the day, but we also celebrated by telling his story (many, many times, at Aiden’s request) and singing songs. Some of us (Hannah, Tav, and Mary) went to a Catholic grade school that taught German. Our teacher was a native German, and loved bringing her family traditions into the classroom. We had almost forgotten about our Laternenlaufen (lantern walks) through the halls while singing (or shouting, as is usually the case with grade schoolers) “Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond, und Sterne!”  If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing kindergartners singing in German, you need to listen to this.

Did you celebrate Martinmas? What did your family do? Do you speak German? Does your mom ever make a face like this when seeing someone serve chicken?

Celebrating Martinmas


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