Monday, November 14, 2011

Rhythm In Our Home : Martinmas

November 11th is Saint Martin's day or Martinmas. Martinmas celebrates the selfless giving impulse exemplified by St. Martin of Tours, a soldier in the Roman army.

One day in November he rose early in the morning and rode from his simple room into the city of Amiens, Gaul. Frigid rain pelted against his face and it was so dark a lantern barely lit his path. Suddenly, his horse stopped at the city gates. A poorly-clad beggar stood beside the path with his hands stretched out asking for help. But St. Martin had nothing to give the beggar. In spite of his high position in the army, he lived in poverty, only serving the poor, the sick and those in need of consolation. But St. Martin's compassionate heart was inventive. Swinging his warm red soldiers' cloak off his back, he cut it in half and gave one half to the beggar.
That night he had a dream in which Christ appeared dressed in the half cloak and said, "Today you have shared your cloak with me, from now on you are to be called St. Martin." After leaving the Roman army, St. Martin became a monk and founded several monasteries that served the sick and poor.

In honor of St. Martin people everywhere gather at night and carry candle filled lanterns on a walk, singing lantern songs and sharing light and warmth of the community. The festival calls on us to remember the light within our lives that we can share to light the way for others. Such a beautiful celebration.

We celebrate Martinmas by donating warm clothes to our local homeless shelters, making lanterns and going on our own little family lantern walk. I try to knit my children sweaters for Martinmas in honor of the warmth he shared, but that's hit or miss. This year it didn't happen. It's amazing how much more three is compared to two when it comes to knitting things! I was lucky to pull off three matching hats in time for our Harvest Festival this year. Anyways... Thanks to Grace, I am thinking of incorporating a special feast/meal, as well, in the future.

I openly admit that I dropped the ball this year on Martinmas, not just with the sweaters, either. We just ran out of time this year to make our lanterns. Instead we used the lanterns the girls made for their lantern walk in school (C's was started at school and finished at home), and I borrowed one from C's teacher. I think I was more upset over not making our lanterns than the girls, but it's all ok.

K's lantern was another watercolor paper one. This year a little window was added to it with a leaf glued in between two piece of kite paper. C's lantern was a 'stained glass' one with tissue paper glued to a small jar. C picked up a new skill while making her lantern - finger knitting! She is too young for it to really stick yet but the little handle on her lantern was just the right amount of finger knitting for her. She was pretty proud of herself.

I like to light lanterns all over our home on this special day. There are lanterns waiting, lighting up the table for the girls come to for breakfast, lanterns at our dinner table and we read the story of St. Martin before bed by lantern light.

We eat an early dinner so that we may go out on our lantern walk as soon as father sun sets. We get bundled up in our warmest coats, light our lanterns and head out. This year it was pouring outside so we only walked to the end of our street and back but that was just right for us to honor the day.

As we walk we sing these three songs:

Glimmer lantern glimmer,
Little stars a shimmer.
Over meadow moor and dale,
flitter, flutter elf in veil.
Pee-witt, pee-witt, tick a tick a tick,
rou-cou, rou-cou.
Glimmer lantern glimmer,
Little stars a shimmer.
Over rock and stock and stone,
Wander, tripping little gnome.
Pee-witt, pee-witt, tick a tick a tick,
rou-cou, rou-cou.

The daylight fast is dwindling
My little lamp needs kindling
Let your beams shine far
Into the dark night
Little lantern guard me
With your precious light

I go outside with my lantern,
my lantern goes outside with me.
Above the stars shine so brightly,
down here on the earth shine we.
So shine my light,
in the still dark night,
a bim a la ba ma la boom!

K sang a fourth lantern song that she learned at school but I don't know all the words to it. I do have a feeling it will be added to our lantern walk song list, though.

You can find our past Martinmas adventures here.

Please remember - this is just our family rhythm and what works for us at the moment. This isn't meant to be hard and fast rules on how rhythm should go in every one or any one's homes. I just thought to share it because I receive quite a few e-mails asking about our home rhythm, and I also just wanted it documented for myself so that I may remember these times when they are older and/or on to another rhythm.

Thank you, again, for joining me in the rhythm fun! Here is the linky list. If you have a (new or old) link you would like to share about your family rhythm, please enter it below so that we all may see. Then please link back here in your post. I look forward to seeing your inspiration!
Thanks friends!

Last chance to enter for your chance to win Phoebe's Sweater & stationary. I will be picking the winner tomorrow night!

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