St. Martin’s Day was celebrated in parts of Germany each year this weekend with lights, procession, bonfires and even fireworks.
Last Friday night saw a long procession from Judith Kerr School in Herne Hill Road to the Alleyn’s Playing Field behind Burbage Road. Surprised homeward-bound commuters were delayed as pupils, families and staff of the school walked in an impressively long line to the playing field. Lanterns as well as a brass band leading the way made for a noisy and exciting event.
Unknown to most locals St Martin Day is annually celebrated in some parts of Europe on 11 November while we remember the tragedy of war on Remembrance Day.
Wikipedia explains where St Martin’s Day is celebrated and tells us that:
Saint Martin’s day, also known as the Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, as well as Old Halloween and Old Hallowmas Eve, is the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours (Martin le Miséricordieux) and is celebrated on November 11 each year. This is the time when autumn wheat seeding was completed, and the annual slaughter of fattened cattle produced “Martinmas beef”. Historically, hiring fairs were held where farm labourers would seek new posts.
Saint Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier who was baptised as an adult and became a monk. The most famous legend concerning him was that he had once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the latter from the cold. That night, he dreamt of Jesus, wearing the half-cloak and saying to the angels, “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is now baptised; he has clothed me.”  Saint Martin died on November 8, 397.