… to join the lantern parade

Even today, parades with self-made lanterns are very popular with children of kindergarten and primary school age

St. Martin’s Day, also known regionally as “Saint Martin’s Day”, “Martin’s Festival” or “Martini”, is dedicated to the memory of Saint Martin of Tours, who is said to have been buried on November 11 th, 397. This day is still celebrated in many ways in Central Europe today – numerous customs, such as the “St. Martin’s goose dinner”, the “St. Martin’s procession” or the “St. Martin’s singing” have survived into our time.
Very popular with children of kindergarten and primary school age are processions with self-made lanterns through the streets of their communities. In some areas, these lantern processions are accompanied by a rider on a white horse wearing a red cloak, representing St. Martin in his military service as a Roman soldier. Often brass bands accompany the procession to provide instrumental accompaniment to the children’s singing.

Saint Martin as an interdenominational paragon

Later venerated as a saint, Martin of Tours, known as Martinus in Latin, is said to have been born around 316/317 in the then Roman province of “Pannonia prima” in present-day Hungary and to have died on November 8th, 397 near Tours in present-day France. He was the third Bishop of Tours and is considered one of the best-known saints of the Catholic Church, but is also venerated as a role model by Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant Christians.
Before his spiritual work, Martin was stationed as a mounted soldier in the Imperial Guard in Amiens, now in northern France. In artistic representations he is usually depicted wearing a red officer’s cloak. According to legend, he encountered a poor, unclothed man at the city gate one wintry day. With his sword, Martin is said to have then divided his military coat and given half to the poor man. After his death, he was later regarded as the patron saint of travellers, the poor and beggars, as well as horsemen and, by extension, refugees, prisoners, teetotalers and soldiers.

Significant influence on Central European customs

Around 480, the day of his burial was established as a day of commemoration. In later centuries, in rural areas, this day also became important as a date for payments and contract terms – the fiscal years thus lasted from November 11th to “Martini” of the following year.
Taxes were often due in kind, hence the name “Martin’s goose”. The Advent period after St. Martin’s Day was often celebrated as a time of fasting, which is why St. Martin’s Day was still celebrated with very sumptuous meals. In Protestant areas, St. Martin’s Day was also given a new meaning – it was linked to the commemoration of the reformer Martin Luther, who had been baptised on November 11th, the saint’s name day.

Well-equipped for autumn activities with POLOLO

POLOLO has a variety of lace-ups, boots and climbing shoes for younger and older girls and boys. These are always made of vegetable-tanned leather and nestle around adventurous children’s feet in a warm, soft, chrome-free and breathable way.
They are suitable for various outdoor activities: For playground visits, excursions and walks (e.g. to collect chestnuts, acorns or coloured leaves) – but also for lantern parades!

Other special events on 11 November (selection):

  • In the Czech city of Pilsen, beer “brewed in the Pilsner style” is served for the first time in 1842.
  • Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling” is published in Denmark in 1843.
  • In an experiment in 1886, Heinrich Hertz succeeds in forwarding electromagnetic waves from a transmitter to a receiver.
  • In Schwedt an der Oder, the foundation stone for the refinery “Erdölverarbeitungswerk Schwedt” is laid in 1960.
  • “Gemini 12”, the last space flight in NASA’s “Gemini” programme (the second manned US space programme in preparation for the “Apollo” programme), takes off in 1966.
  • Every year, 11.11 a.m. is the official start of the carnival season.
Photo: An enterprising girl with the POLOLO MINI lace-up "Juan" in beige