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.
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
1/2 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.
Then bake spoon-sized dough cookies in hot oil.
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!