I go outside with my lantern, my lantern goes with me

Above the stars shine brightly, down here on earth shone we

The cock does crow, the cat meows, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom,

‘Neath heaven’s dome til we go home, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.

(you can hear this sung here)

I didn’t grow up in the Waldorf tradition, or celebrating many of these old festivals, but oh how I am loving them.  Martinmas, in honor of St. Martin.  We carefully light our lanterns (our inner sparks) to prepare for the coming winter, we share what we have with those around us in need (food, clothing, etc).  Ella and I spent all week making lanterns (using Grace’s lovely tutorial here), singing the above song, and trying to get those elf slippers ready.  After knitting them, you have to felt them down, and while I was worried that I might easily shrink them too much, I’m having a hard time getting them shrunk small enough!  Almost there.


Why celebrate something like Martinmas?  There are a lot of reasons, but for me, it brings the year to life for young children.  We move from one marker of the season to the next, in such a beautiful way.  Sometimes, as the coordinating adult, it feels like too much, but I am always glad that we’ve stopped to mark these moments.  A story, a song, a meal with friends.  Thanksgiving and Christmas simply are not enough.  And so, while the floors did not get swept, and the laundry is still drying by the woodstove, we did walk under the stars with our lanterns.  We made an apple spice cake (low-sugar, from The Petit Appetit Cookbook) with yam frosting (delicious! from Feeding the Whole Family), and no one has to know that while we were out walking the dog ate half.  Right?

2 Responses to “Martinmas”

  1. 1

    I have always loved the St Martin traditions! Growing up in Germany, we celebrated St Martin every year in Kindergarten and in School. Even living here in the States, we always made lanterns with our girls and often had a St Martin parade with our church and playgroup. St Martin traditionally rides ahead on his horse and everybody follows. There is something so beautiful about all those little kids carrying their handmade lanterns…

  2. 2

    Our lantern walk was the loveliest thing I’ve done in years, and the sight of tiny, bundled children with their lanterns was beyond words. I’m finding that these fall festivals are deeply nourishing to my own soul, and help me through what can sometimes tend towards being a sad time of year. I feel how they will carry us through the seasons, and bring us the special gifts each one offers. Love you chalkboard.

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