St Martin’s Day

On Friday was “Veteran’s Day” here in the US. In Germany, we celebrate St. Martin’s Day on November, 11. It’s a catholic tradition and the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours, “who was baptized as an adult and became a monk. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The most famous legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of the cold.” (Wikipedia).

Usually there are St. Martin’s processions throughout the week, which are organized by schools and daycare facilities in Germany. The teachers make paper lanterns with the kids in art class and they usually come up with really neat ideas. Here are some examples of our Martin’s lanterns.

{source for most of them and Google Image Search}

Did you see the lantern on the bottom left? Who can guess why I especially like that one? Anyone?

Then, on November, 11, the whole school gets together in the early evening to join a procession through town, sing songs about St. Martin and all come together at a bonfire where the story of St. Martin is re-narrated. Often, a man dressed as St. Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession (to make the whole thing more authentic, you know). Afterwards, everybody gathers in their class rooms and every kid receives a bag with candy, fruits and a “Weckmann” [which is made from sweetened yeast dough]. Later the children go from door to door with their paper lanterns and candles and sing songs about St. Martin and about their lanterns in return for a treat, very similar to the American tradition of Halloween.
I always loved St. Martin’s Day as a kid and it’s so sweet to hear how my niece and nephew are experiencing the St. Martin’s Day traditions.


There is also traditional food on St. Martin’s Day and  today I am going to share my Grandma’s family recipe for “Martinsküchle” (yeast-dough cookies) with you. They’re delicious.


500 g wheat flour
30 g yeast
50 g sugar
1 egg
1/2 l milk

Mix ingredients in a bowl, cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk.

Add raisins if desired.

yeast-dough with raisins

Then bake spoon-sized dough cookies in hot oil.

frying the yeast cookies


Serve with sugar.

Yum! I hope my Mom saved me some (they can be frozen easily and taste very good when reheated).

Hope you all had a great weekend!

  1. I’m thinking you made it. yes? Sounds like a nice day.

  2. It’s the Koelner Dom?

    We went to Noah’s future german preschool today – they had also a St.Martins Umzug. So many Germans, I did not even know where they all came from! There must have been at least 70 people in that little preschool. And everybody was so proud of their own lanterns.

  3. Oh, what? A latern in the shape of the Kölner Dom? Uh-mazing.
    We had St. Martin last weekend and I saw one girl carrying a Hello Kitty lantern – so, so cute!

    Do you miss to celebrate St. Martin? I totally love that holiday, it may be my favorite one!!

    Lots of love, hope you’re doing wel.

  4. We went on the St. Martin’s “Umzug” as well. Leonie had a blast…she couldn’t remember it from before we went to the US and so she was super excited!
    Happy Monday xxx

  5. Stutenkerl, Sannie….Stutenkerl! ;)

  6. Ahhhhh…minge Dom! :)
    Achh nee watt iss datt fuer ne schoen Latern! :)
    Schoene Idee, den St Martins Tag den Amerikaner einmla naeher zu bringen! Klasse Idee!
    Und dann noch mit dem Koelner Dom! :)
    Da haetteste auch noch erzaehlen koennen was am AlterMarkt am 11.11. um 11Uhr11 abgeht! :)

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