Yesterday we had our weekly art class with my friend Heather and she let us know ahead of time that she wanted to do something for Martinmas (the Feast of St. Martin of Tours). She started the class with a brief story from his life, the most common one depicted of him cutting his cloak in half to give to a freezing beggar.
Then the kids got to color St. Martin and the beggar with markers. Next they did blow painting on a cloak which they cut in half and pasted on each man.
When we got home thanks to a little bit of Pinterest searching, I decided to continue more projects and activities.
We’ve been keeping what I’m calling a liturgical journal. When Feasts come up that we either have a project for the Children’s Garden of the Theotokos curriculum which does not go in one of the provided Waldorf books, or when I think of something on my own we put it in there. So our first project was to make a page for St. Martin.
From what I read, in Germany and France, Martinmas is celebrated much as we celebrate Halloween here. Children either make or buy paper lanterns and they process around neighborhoods singing songs about light and darkness, going door to door, sometimes in costume where they get candy along the way.
I was trying find the origins of this practice yesterday and did not have a huge amount of luck, but an explanation I read said that St. Martin’s symbol is a ball of fire or light. He was combatting a lot of darkness and paganism during his time. The light of Christ and Christianity that St. Martin was teaching and spreading fills the night, overcoming the darkness of ignorance. The little lanterns also represent our souls, lit up with the grace of Christ, overcoming evil darkness. Paraphrased from this blog (we share this RC saint).
There are a lot of ideas for Martinmas lanterns out there! I picked a couple favorites and we got to work. Jillian and I used the same image, but different techniques. I gave her a pushpin and told her to poke holes in all the dark spots. Her lantern, once lit up, didn’t really work as well as I expected, but she enjoyed doing it anyway. The image I chose was far too complicated for her to do with scissors like I did. Next time I will try something more simple for her to do it like mine. I backed my cut-out with colored tissue and then wrapped it around a mason jar.
I found a template (in German) for a paper lantern with scenes from St. Martin’s life to cut and paste together too.
We never wound up carving our pumpkin patch pumpkins (they last longer that way) so Jillian asked me to carve hers with three hearts in it.
Then I probably starting taking things a little overboard because I gathered up all the lanterns and LED candles in our house and went lantern crazy. I took our back yard mason lanterns which I had been meaning to take down before it rains anyway and hung them in our front tree.
We came back inside and made even more lanterns for a lantern bunting on my fireplace as we’ve reclaimed that room for our family room since the Church moved out (still tossing out ideas for our other great room space which is only housing a couple bookshelves at the moment.