Tonight, lantern lights will glow in the dark and songs will fill up the air. It’s Saint Martin’s day!
In my area, like in most of European German speaking countries, children are waiting with trepidation the 11th of November. Guided by teachers and parents, they prepared handmade paper lanterns and learned traditional songs. When sun will go down, they will meet together and will form sinuous parades through their village or quarter to celebrate this day.
I find the atmosphere so sweet and magic! Tradition becomes for kids something unforgettable. The satisfaction of producing something with own hands and the enchantment of singing and meeting together in the cold of a late autumnal evening are sensations that will never leave their memories. I still vividly remember when I was a child: I walked by warm candlelight with my lantern in one hand and my brother in the other. I felt like living a fairy tale!
Here a video with the typical Saint Martin’s song “Laterne, Laterne”.
Curious about the lyrics? Here my translation:
Lantern, Lantern, sun, moon and stars. Glow, my little flame, burn, my little flame, but please do not burn my lantern.
Lantern, Lantern, sun, moon and stars. Stop the wind, halt the wind, has to wait until we are all at home.
Lantern, Lantern, sun, moon and stars. Stay clear, my light, stay bright, my light, otherwise my dear lantern cannot shine.
The parade of lanterns hints back at the torch procession in Tours, that accompanied in 490 the remains of the saint, known as friend of the children and patron of the poor.
Did you know?
As an Italian saying goes: «A San Martino ogni mosto diventa vino - At Saint Martin’s day every must turns into wine». In fact, in the first days of November the nouveau wine is ready to be bottled.
The goose is one of the symbols of Saint Martin: the legend recounts that he tried to avoid being ordained bishop by hiding in a goose pen. For this reason, even now, in November, dishes prepared with goose meat are very common in restaurants!
Therefore, should you be visiting South Tyrol in these days, take your time to live this unique experience. I suggest searching for the most authentic atmosphere in mountain villages, where the whole population takes part to the celebration.