I love when the weather shifts in Germany. It is a sure sign that the holidays are upon us. The first seasonal holiday is St. Martin’s Day. The holiday is November 11th, but really festivities begin the night of the 10th. This holiday is a wonderful reminder to be kind to those around us and is also lots of fun for children to participate in!
Do you know the story of St. Martin? His actual name was Martin de Tours and he was born in 316 in Hungary. His colleagues and friends appreciated him because of his big heart: St. Martin reached out to people who were ill, gave help to the needy and shared his belongings where he could. One day, when it was very cold, St. Martin came across a beggar freezing in the streets. A snow storm was about to erupt and the beggar, who had little clothing, was sure to freeze. St. Martin, who was on horseback dismounted to check on the beggar. Realizing that the man was near freezing, St. Martin removed his own cape and drew his sword, slicing the cape in two. He then gave the beggar half of the cape, ensuring the man’s survival. It is this event that we celebrate each year. I still remember my first St. Martin’s celebration and continue to take part every year.
The ceremony starts early in the evening when the sun goes down. In Dusseldorf we meet in the Old Town and everyone brings colorful lanterns which create a romantic and picturesque atmosphere. You can’t imagine what kind of feeling it is to be part of this crowd, watching actors who reenact the life of St. Martin and sing songs about him.
When the ceremony is over, my favorite part of the celebration starts: All of the kids and their parents walk from house to house, sing songs with their lanterns and get candy in return. Although I’ve become too old to collect candy myself, I still enjoy being part of the tradition, handing out treats to the children.
What do you think? Will you be part of the St. Martin’s Day this year? Come out and watch the performance in the Old Town with me! We will get you a pretty lantern and I’d love to teach you the songs so we can experience this unforgettable evening together. For more information, please contact your Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel Personal Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.