Martinmas and Lantern Walks in Waldorf Schools November 09 2022
Many Waldorf schools host a Lantern Walk in November and around Martinmas, the feast day for St. Martin of Tours (November 11) also Veterans’ Day in the United States. St. Martin, the patron saint of beggars and outcasts, was known for his unassuming nature and ability to bring light and warmth to the impoverished. As a general, Martin was known for riding last behind his men to ensure that all were safe before he dismounted in any situation. Martin was a light for all who knew him.
As the days grow short and darkness begins to dominate, the Annual Lantern Walk is a gentle reminder for each of us to find our inner light, nurture it, follow the practices of Martin of Tours, and help that light to shine brighter than ever! Families are invited to gather with their students and handmade lanterns. As darkness falls, the lanterns are lit, and a procession begins. Songs and poems are sung with reverence, and a calm meditative mood is set, reminding us that while our light seems small and fragile, still, it brings relief in the cold and darkness. The darker the situation, the brighter shines the light.
Below are instructions on how to make Martinmas lanterns at home and our favorite verse!
Simple Stained Glass Lantern
- Colored tissue paper torn into various sizes or cut into neat shapes - whatever strikes you!
- Glass jars
- Glue mixture (2 parts water/1 part glue)
- Paintbrush or sponge
- Tea lights (the battery-operated ones work wonderfully with younger children)
- Heavy-duty plant wire or garden twine (we like coated plant wire)
- Paint a jar section with the glue mixture and place the tissue paper pieces over the glue.
- Paint over each tissue piece - this helps smooth the wrinkles and provides a uniform look.
- Continue until the whole jar is covered!
- Once dry, wrap a piece of wire around the mouth of the jar, leaving extra on each end.
- Figure out how long you want the handle to be - you need to make sure the candle is far enough away from the hand to prevent a hot hand! Using wire or twine, tie (or twist) one end of the wire through the wire at the mouth. Tie or twist the opposite end equidistant from the other. Ensure the lantern is balanced when held; if not, adjust until it is. Once you get the handle positioned, go back to the loop of wire/twine around the mouth and tighten it up as much as possible. You don't want the handle to break!
- Place a tea light or battery-operated candle in the jar and wait for winter's darkness to fall!