Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Martinmas

"The sunlight slow is dwindling
My little lamp needs kindling
It shines so bright in darkness night
Dear lantern guard me with your light."


Our preparations for Martinmas began last week with the making of new lanterns, learning some new songs and verses, and talking about our own inner light and how we can share it with others through acts of kindness and love. On Saturday afternoon we gathered with friends for a lovely lantern walk in the woods. As we walked, we sang our lantern song, chatted, and enjoyed time together in the beauty of nature. Following our lantern walk, everyone came back to our home where I shared a lovely story about tending our inner light through the long, dark, cold days of winter, and then we enjoyed a delicious potluck dinner, wonderful conversation, and lots and lots of fun play among the kiddos. Coming together with other families to celebrate this festival was truly wonderful, and I was filled with so much gratitude as I looked around our home at everyone there.

If you are not familiar with Martinmas, it is the story of St. Martin. St. Martin was a soldier in Rome in the 4th century. Legend says that one wintery night he met a poor beggar, half-naked and freezing. Martin removed the heavy military cloak from his shoulders and, drawing his sword, cut it in two, and gave half to the beggar. That night, Christ appeared to Martin in a dream, wrapped in the same piece of cloak Martin had given the beggar, and said: “Martin has covered me with this garment.” Martin became the patron saint of beggars, drunks and outcasts, dedicating his life to assisting the unfortunate and downcast. Martinmas celebrates his kindness, compassion and selflessness. Lanterns are a traditional part of the celebration as a reminder of the light that shines in each and every one of us, and that we must share and spread this light.

Martinmas falls on November 11, also Remembrance Day in Canada. Over the years it has become our family tradition to be present at our local cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremony honouring those who have fought, and those who continue to fight, for this life we are so blessed to lead. We then head to the grocery store to buy food for the food bank in the spirit of St. Martin. This year, instead of food, we decided to buy hats and mitts, and yesterday they were delivered to a local non-profit organization that supports young mothers.

Martinmas is a beautiful festival that speaks to me on so many levels. As the years go by, I know Reece will develop a deeper understanding of its meaning, and my hope is that he comes to truly understand how beautiful his inner light is and that he will let it shine bright on those who need it most.

31 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful post. Although my family was raised in the church, I was not and must admit that I lack in the way of saints and their stories of courage, kindness and compassion. I love learning through your blog. In Tao, Compassion for all living things is part of the 5 great virtues and we practice it daily. I love how all faiths pretty much have the same message, just different ways of interpreting them sometimes. But all and all, it's about creating a better world for all and remembering that we are all one and the same. Too many forget that.

    Happy Martinmas to you. xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Yanic. Yes, creating a better world, and showing love and compassion to all living things is really what it is all about, and if I can instill that in Reece by the way we live I will be one happy mama. xo

      Delete
  2. I have no doubt that Reece's inner light will shine bright for all who meet him Kim. What a wonderful way to celebrate Martinmas and I know all those that are a little bit warmer this winter appreciate your
    loving and giving heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tracey. It really is my favourite festival, and each year Reece understands it a little more.

      Delete
  3. What a beautiful celebration--so perfect for these quiet November-y weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh I love this. I had grand plans for Martinmas this year. Alas not a one of them happened :-/ Next year! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jen. There is always next year, and there is no reason why you can't still share the story of St Martin this year, chat about shining your inner light, and light a candle to represent our inner light. It really doesn't have to big, sometimes small and simple say all there is to say :)

      Delete
  5. this is the first i've heard of Martinmas... how simply wonderful !!! I love how you incorporate all these simple celebrations into your mothering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Erica, we had a wonderful time and enjoyed celebrating with our friends.

      Delete
  6. We celebrated Martinmass for the first time last night too. I really wanted to have a celebration like yours so I said to our homeschool group anyone want to come have a latern walk with me? I got a wonderful response. We have one mom who is actually from germany and she was wonderful help in getting the walk organized. So we made lanterns as a group that morning and then in the evening we met at the park and took our walk around this small lake. It was lovely. Afterwards we had a traditional Breztel and some warmed apple cider. I'll have pictures up tomorrow. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so wonderful to hear KC. Always lovely when people come together to celebrate festivals. Maybe a new tradition you have started??? Looking forward to seeing the photos.

      Delete
  7. I have thoughts in my head of lanterns glowing in the woods, so peaceful and reverent!! Reece is having the best childhood ever :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe, thanks Karen. It was really lovely, and enjoyed by all.

      Delete
  8. I too, could picture your little lights bobbing through the forest. I love the idea of dropping of items at the food bank or non-profit. We're looking forward to adding this tradition to our fall and winter festivals at some point--but the kiddos are still a bit young, yet.

    Is your lantern made out of wool? They look beautiful. The boys made theirs at school--mason jars with tissue paper pasted on. They were so lovely and simple. I hope I'll have pic up on the blog tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, it was really lovely. Yes, it is made from wool. We wet felted the candle on them, finger knit a handle and then stitched the lanterns up. It was multi day project for the kids and they really enjoyed it.

      Looking forward to seeing your photos.

      Delete
  9. Beautiful indeed, Kim. What a wonderful way to remember so many different areas of giving and loving and serving.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting, I'm not familiar with Martinmas at all. It sounds like a wonderful tradition for everyone to take up. Very nice Kim.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So lovely.
    Do you have any suggestion on books that help with all the festivals. When the big boys were younger we did a few here and there but have gotten away from it all. I would like to add more into our year and especially with the two younger ones as they grow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rosemarie. Yes, there are a couple of books, here they are:

      Celebrating Festivals with Children by Freya Jaffke
      All Year Round: A Calendar of Celebrations by Anne Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton and Marije Rowling
      Festivals, Family and Food: Guide to Seasonal Celebration by Diana Carey and Judy Large

      Any one of those would give you the meaning behind the festival, some ideas to celebrate it with your family.

      I also like Celebrating Mother Earth: A Handbook of Earth Loving Activities for Parents and Children. This one is not Waldorf, and doesn't have the Waldorf festivals in it, (although it does have a few in there), it really focuses on the celebrations in regards to the earth...solstices, equinoxes, harvest time, etc.

      Hope that helps. I bet you will find your older boys will really get into the festivals, there is so much you can do with the festivals as the kids get older. Have fun!

      Delete
  12. A lantern walk with like-minded people sounds like such a beautiful thing. Alas the mother groups around here looked at me like I just grew horns when I mentioned the idea.. Sigh... Is there a house for sale near you? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was beautiful.

      Oh no, sorry, not fun. There are always houses around here for sale, I think right now there are two or three in close proximity :) How lovely that would be, can you imagine?

      Delete
  13. What a lovely, meaningful celebration. Martinmas isn't a festival I was familiar with, so thank you for the write up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure. These Waldorf festivals are so very lovely, and speak to so many of the things I want Reece to reflect on as he grows.

      Delete