Martinmas and Waldorf Lantern Walks November 09 2023
The Waldorf Lantern Walk, a cherished tradition observed by many Waldorf schools in November, aligns with the celebration of Martinmas. Martinmas is not only a feast day honoring St. Martin of Tours on November 11, but also coincides with Veterans' Day in the United States. St. Martin, the patron saint of beggars and outcasts, is renowned for his humility and his remarkable ability to bring warmth and light to those in need. His legendary act of riding at the rear of his troops to ensure their safety before dismounting exemplifies his unwavering dedication to the well-being of others. Martin's life serves as an enduring beacon of light for all who encounter his story.
As the days grow shorter and darkness begins to envelop the world, the Annual Lantern Walk serves as a gentle reminder for each of us to discover and nurture our inner light. We are encouraged to embrace the principles embodied by Martin of Tours and allow our inner radiance to shine even brighter. Families are invited to assemble with their children, each carrying handcrafted lanterns. As the cloak of darkness descends, the lanterns are illuminated, marking the commencement of a solemn procession. Songs and poems resonate with reverence, creating a meditative atmosphere that underscores the notion that while our individual lights may appear small and delicate, they hold the power to offer solace in times of cold and darkness. Paradoxically, it is during the darkest moments that our inner light shines its brightest.
The Legend of Saint Martin
Saint Martin of Tours, a revered Christian saint from the 4th century, is perhaps best known for the heartwarming encounter with a beggar that defined his life's legacy. One cold winter day, as Martin was riding his horse through the city of Amiens, he came across a shivering beggar at the city gates, barely clothed and suffering from the bitter cold. Touched by the man's plight and compelled by his deep compassion, Martin did not hesitate. He took off his own military cloak and, with his sword, cut it in two, giving half to the beggar. That night, Martin had a vision in which he saw Jesus Christ himself, wrapped in the half of the cloak he had given away, confirming the profound significance of his act of charity. This selfless act of sharing his cloak became an enduring symbol of Martin's humility and devotion to helping those in need, inspiring countless others to follow his example throughout the centuries. Saint Martin of Tours is celebrated as a patron saint of the poor and a symbol of Christian charity to this day.
A Martinmas Verse
Saint Martin rode through wind and snow
On his strong horse, his heart aglow,
He rode so boldly through the storm
His great cloak kept him well and warm
By the roadside a poor man arose,
Out of the snow in tattered clothes
He begged “please help me with my plight”
Or I shall die of cold tonight
Saint Martin stopped his horse and drew
his sword and cut his great cloak in two
Half to the beggar man he gave
And by this deed a life was saved