Thank you to all who's service keeps the rest of us safe. And my heartfelt thanks to the families of all the brave, who have served in the past, who serve now and who will serve in the future, because "they also serve who stand and wait." ~~John MIlton
The final post about Halloween, for now anyway. This I must admit is entirely new and very interesting to me.
November 11: St. Martin’s Day–Halloween, German-style
to profit-minded businesses, American Halloween customs are
increasingly infringing on German culture, but Halloween is not a
traditional holiday celebrated in Germany. However, the customs
associated with Halloween are not unfamiliar in Europe. A similar
holiday has been celebrated in many European countries for centuries on
November 11: St. Martin’s Day. In the traditional Catholic
calendar, November 11, the birthday of Saint Martin of Tours, signifies
the beginning of the forty-day fast before Christmas, and therefore is
often accompanied by a special, last-hurrah feast of roast goose, the
“Martinigans”. In some Potestant areas, however, the date was changed to
November 10 to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther instead. It was
also the day of the year on which temporary farmhands or workers were
dismissed for the winter, which for them and their families signaled the
beginning of lean times. So originally, the children went around at
night with lanterns carved from turnips or sugar beets, singing songs
and collecting food to be stored for the winter. Later, the survival
aspect became less prominent and the sweet tooth took over. Today, the
children, just as for Halloween, collect mostly sweets and candy. In
some areas, the traditional carved and candle-lit lanterns are still
displayed in parades, but in other areas paper lanterns with artificial
lights are more popular, partly for safety reasons. Some of the St.
Martin’s Day parades get pretty elaborate with a horseman leading the
parade to a public area where a big bonfire caps the festivities.
Various regions also have their own songs for the “Martinisingen”, but
the most commonly used song is “Ich geh mit meiner Laterne”.
Ich geh mit meiner Laterne und meine Laterne mit mir. Da oben leuchten die Sterne und unten da leuchten wir. rabimmel, rabammel, rabumm.
In addition to the traditional St. Martin’s Day goose with red cabbage and dumplings, some areas celebrate the holiday with “Stutenkerlen” oder “Weckmännern,” little bread men made from a sweet bread dough (recipe). In other areas, these bread creations are associated more with St. Nicholas Day. Today,
the holiday has lost most of its original religious and historical
significance. But just as the carving of pumpkins for Halloween is a
hallowed part of an American childhood, the carving of turnips or the
fashioning of a paper lantern for St. Martin’s Day is a magical part of
German childhood and even many years later is remembered more fondly
than the number of candy bars collected.