Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Martinmas....the Lantern Walk

I go outside with my lantern,
my lantern goes with me.
Above us the stars are shining,
on earth shining are we.
So shine my light in the still dark night,
Labimmel, Labammel, Laboom.
'Neath heaven's dome till we go home,
Labimmel, Labammel, Laboom.

Martinmas is fast approaching, yay! Yes, we still have to get through Halloween, I know, but then it's lantern making time! 

When the Boy attended SWS, his wonderful teacher invited the parents to join the class for the school's lantern walk. I had no idea what it was about, so was excited to join in the festivities. 

At SWS's lantern walk, the children of all grades make lanterns. Usually the design pertains to something they've been studying. For example, in 3rd grade, the farming year, our class carved pumpkins to carry. On November 11, or a date close to that, the children in grades 1-4 gather and process through the darkened school carrying their candlelit lanterns, entering each classroom whilst singing lantern songs. The students in grades 5-8 remain in their classrooms, with their lanterns glowing and flickering on their desks.

The procession ends in the front hall of the school, where the young grades gather for a candlelit telling (and acting) of the story of St. Martin by the second grade class (which is studying saints and fables). 

Martinmas is a day set aside to celebrate St. Martin. I won't go into his whole story here, there are lots of sites on the web that you can google. Simply said, he was a soldier turned servant. His storied deed was that he used his gleaming sword to slice his cloak in two and gave one half to a poor man who was freezing—and ever after served the poor. It is a beautiful story of giving and sharing, and a metaphor for preparing for the cold, dark days of winter.

So now we are homeschooling, and of all the festivals, it is the lantern walk I miss the most. But, this is an easy one to bring home: gather some friends, food, and fire and you have yourself a lantern walk. On November 11, we'll come together and share a potluck meal, gather round a campfire to tell the story of St. Martin and then, in the darkening night, we'll light the children's lanterns and process around our property singing the sweet lantern walk songs.  And in the dark days of winter, we will remember the light of those bobbing, cheerful lanterns, and keep that glow of warmth alive in our inner beings 'til the first awakening of spring...Candlemas.

Material for our paper lanterns: balloon, tissue, flour paste, dried leaves
We used white tissue first, then a layer of 5 or six leaves, spread out so the light can shine through,
then two layers of colored tissue
We left an opening at the top so we could put a candle in.

The finished lanterns, drying upside down.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for the comments!