Saint Martin’s day

11 11 2008


Today, 11/11 is the name day of saint Martin. Saint Martin was a soldier, who, on coming back to the city on a very cold day, saw a beggar who certainly wouldn’t survive the cold night without some cover, and he cut his own mantle in two and shared it with the beggar. That night he had a dream with a message from God, and he decided to stop soldiering, became a monk, and later became a bishop.
And after his death a saint.
He is most important because he inspired a really nice party-day. I loved saint Martin’s day as a kid!


So, in the south, and Belgium, and here in the (protestant) north, The nameday of saint Martin is celebrated. It is a feast of goodwill and generosity. Children make lanterns at home, or school, and as it get’s dark they light them with candles, or small electriclights, and go by the doors in small groups, singing special ”saint Martin”-songs, and being given candy and fruit.


Traditionally the lanterns were made from beatroots. Every year there is a competition in my city for the best lantern made out of a beetroot! These are made by 10 year old kids! The shark is brilliant! It is clearly a great white! It didn’t get first prize which is a totally stupid decision by the judges.

st-maarten-voederbiet-muis st-maarten-voederbiet-web st-maarten-haai

These lanters are very heavy, modern lanterns are made out of cardboard, and thin paper which let’s through the light. They are carried around by hanging them on sticks.





11 responses

11 11 2008

This was interesting.

11 11 2008

Beautiful.. I wonder why most saints come from France!

11 11 2008

Shaz, I have no idea.
Specs, it’s great fun when you’re a kid!

12 11 2008

It is interesting that in many cultures in different occasions, children go from house to house singing and collect candy, and also holding lanterns. In Egypt for example they hold a lantern called fanoos and sing wahawi ya wahawi in Ramadan. In Kuwait, it is also in Ramadan , they call it girgian and they sing songs and collect candy and nuts from the houses.

Beautiful pictures as always.

12 11 2008

I agree… the shark should totally have won! I also agree with ~W~… it seems that every culture has a holiday in which we load the little ones down with candy! Good stuff!

12 11 2008

Yes, for all this talk about how different all our cultures are, there seem to be at least as many simularities!!! It’s good to share these rather than looking for dis-simularities 🙂

12 11 2008

I’ve never even heard of this holiday! Thanks for posting about it so I could learn. COOL!

13 11 2008

Saint Martin was born in France. And i read about many other saints who are french. I think Catholics have more saints?

17 11 2008

Blessings from Saint Tony 🙂

30 06 2010
Sheryl Tan

Hi there,
I’m writing an article on St Martin’s Day for our children’s newsletter, and was wondering if i could use your pictures( those with kids and the lanterns).
Do email me if its okay:)
Thanks alot!


30 06 2010

Yes, they came from a news site.

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