We had our Martinmas celebration this past weekend.  In the Waldorf tradition, Martinmas is about the importance of protecting our “inner light” through the harsh winter, and about helping others do the same.

All of last week we talked about the story of St. Martin and how important it is to help those in need.  I gathered many bags of unused clothing and toys for a local group that allows mothers to get the items they need free of charge.  We also worked on our paper lanterns, each new day completing the next step. We used Grace’s tutorial, and they went together beautifully.

I don’t know how many times I have done wet-on-wet watercolor painting with The Boy, but this was the first time he really enjoyed the process, and he was so excited that he called out, “I made orange!”

As we did with Michaelmas, we kept the celebration simple, and once again it worked perfectly. Before we set out for our lantern walk, there was much grumbling from The Boy, who did not want to leave home.  But we pushed though and I’m so glad we did.

We went to a local park, and let the kids play on the playground for a bit.  After that, I gave them each a gift of a hand knitted hat.  (I really loved Grace’s idea of gifting hand knits on Martinmas, but I knew there was no way I would get sweaters done in time.  Will have to think ahead next year!)

After they donned their hats, we read a story called The Lantern, lit our lanterns and went for a walk through a beautiful wooded area.  Our timing was perfect, the sun was almost gone, and the woods were a bit dark but enchanting.  Seeing the glowing lanterns bobbing through the woods at sunset was a beautiful sight!

I was a bit concerned about giving the kids real candles, but after getting the opinions of a few moms, I listened to my heart and came to the conclusion that the flame is part of the experience.  We talked about how to respect fire, how to keep a flame safe, and why we needed to keep the flame contained.  I am so glad I did because The Boy was far more conscious of his movement than he usually is, and he was so proud of himself!  Not only was he not scared of the dark woods, he wanted to lead the way. He was really in his element, and I love to catch glimpses of my children when they are so perfectly doing what they seem to be meant to do.  I was so touched at how profound an experience it was for The Boy.

We returned home to a bubbling pot of simmering tomato sauce and we had a simple meal of cheese tortellini and sauce.  Before bed, we read the story of Martin and the Poor Man.

Another sweet and simple festival.

6 Responses to “Martinmas”

  1. The SwedeLife writes:

    Beautiful… you would expect this to be one we observed, but not this year with the travel and all the sunlight….what you did was sweet and lovely.

  2. MamaBird writes:

    You are creating such special memories for your kids; quite beautiful!

  3. Tammy writes:

    Oh, dear. We missed that this year. In Holland–at least in Amsterdam–celebrating Sint Maarten is actually rather common, and I mean outside the Waldorf-Steiner community as well. And yes, always, with real candles, which made me initially nervous, too. I think children love both the mystery involved and the responsible act of wielding a candle against the dark.

  4. Maggie writes:


  5. kangaroo writes:

    WOW, this doesn’t look like it happened in our little neck of the woods at all! So lovely it makes me want to celebrate this next year. Thank you!

  6. martinmas | The Laughing Monkey writes:

    […] can read about our first Martinmas here, and last year’s celebration […]

Leave a Reply