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Salzburg Area of Switzerland

My European Vacation


Martinmas / St. Martin’s Day

This year, thanks to my grandson’s kindergarten class, we’ve started a new tradition. That of doing a Lantern Walk on Martinmas or St. Martin’s Day.

St. Martin of Tours (France) lived in the 4th Century. As a young man, he was a Roman soldier. On a cold and snowy night in November, as he rode into a city, he came upon a beggar, huddled by the city gates, who had very little clothing and was certainly not in any shape to withstand the snowy conditions. Legend has it that St. Martin removed his warm military cloak and cut it in half with his sword, placing one half of it on the beggar.  The following night an angel appeared to St. Martin, wearing half of the cloak that he had shared the night before, impressing upon St. Martin how important acts of kindness are to humankind.

St. Martin died in the year 397 and is considered the patron saint of beggars, outcasts, and those to whom misfortune has befallen.

Martinmas is celebrated November 11, in song and also by doing a “Lantern Walk.” Walking in the dark with a humble lantern, we are reminded to shine a light on the dark and treat everyone with compassion and respect.

Here’s a link to a Martinmas song: https://youtu.be/ra-lZABCpZs




Finn, Martinmas Lantern Walk