Friday, November 19, 2010

Martinmas Lantern Walk


Tonight is our Martinmas celebration and it's snowing the first real snow of the year here.

We've been making balloon lanterns this week. We'll gather with friends, new and old, hear a story about a small boy who makes a lantern to hold Father Sun's spark and walk through the woods, share a meal and have a bonfire.




This year we're baking Martinmas pastry, either Volaerens (donkey droppings) or Weckmann (bunmen), the dough is the same, a sweet brioche, the form is different.






The donkey droppings come from a story that goes like this:

Many, many years ago, before your grandparents were born, a young boy who came to be known as Saint Martin was journeying in the dark of the night with his donkey. Neither moon nor star glowed that night. The forest was very dark. Saint Martin was walking alongside his donkey. His donkey was clomp, clomp, clomping along the leaves that covered the forest floor when suddenly he disappeared into the wood. Martin searched far and wide yet the donkey was not to be seen. Soon he came upon a village where the children were playing in the town center. The children were given lanterns to help find Martin's donkey. They quickly found the donkey and led him to the village square in a festive parade of children, lanterns and donkey. Martin was grateful to the children for their help and to thank them he turned the donkey droppings into sweet little pastries for the children to eat. They named them volaerens which means donkey droppings in the Flemish language and still bake them today in some villages while children all over the world celebrate this day with walks and songs and lanterns.



Our favorite lantern songs:

I'm walking with my lantern,
My lantern is walking with me
In heaven the stars are shining,
On earth are shining we

Oh lantern bright!
You shine tonight!
May all the Angels see,
May all the Angels see,

I'm walking with my lantern,
My lantern is shining on me,
In heaven the stars are shining
On earth are shining we

The cock doth crow,
The cat meows,
La bimmel, la bammel la boom!
The cock doth crow,
The cat meows,
La bimmel, la bammel, la boom!

and this song which is known as "the second grade song" for the children learn it in second grade:

Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Martin rode through wind and snow
On his strong horse, his heart aglow,
He rode so boldly through the storm
His great cloak kept him well and warm

By the roadside, by the roadside, by the roadside a poor man arose,
Out of the snow in tattered clothes
He said please help me with my plight
Or I shall die of cold tonight

Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Martin stopped his horse and drew
his sword and cut his cloak in two
One half to the beggar man he gave
And by this deed a life did save


Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Martin rode through wind and snow
On his strong horse, his heart aglow,
He rode so boldly through the storm
His great cloak kept him well and warm



The music for this song is here although the words in this version are a different translation.

Maybe a post with snapshots and recipes tomorrow.....

The next day.....


Martinmas Blessings!

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing the story. How beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so happy to learn a new St Martin song, thank you! I am two years away from doing second grade again, I will save it as special for then to share with my daughters. Second grade is so wonderful...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Where can we find the story you mentioned about the boy making the lantern to hold the light?

    ReplyDelete

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