Today is St. Martin’s Day in Germany. It is a sweet tradition I grew up with and miss. There are many origins to the celebration but the one I remember is the Roman Soldier St. Martin of Tours, who gave up half of his coat to a poor man on the road on a cold winter night. He was riding on his horse, with nothing on him other than his sword and cloak, when he saw the person in need. He cut his cloak in half and gave it to the poor person. It is a sweet way to start the holiday season centered on giving and showing compassion.
In Germany it is mostly celebrated by pre-school aged children and their parents. Children will participate in processions after dark, carrying handmade lanterns and follow a horse-back rider caring a sword and a cloak. The rider will lead them back to the pre-school, where a warm fire and hot beverages are waiting for them.
Have you ever participated in one of these? Or did you grow up with other traditions you miss?