November 11 is St. Martin's Day here in Germany. No, it's not a day to celebrate my husband ( I do that everyday, of course!). I didn't know much about it, but I knew that it was something that children celebrate with parades - and there was going to be one in our neighborhood, so we decided to check out. I got Simon bundled up and headed out to find the parade (his first!). Sure enough, I found its source at a local Kindergarten where parents, kids and Kinderwagens (strollers) were streaming out. All of the children and many of the Kinderwagens were sporting paper lanters - all with various colors and shapes. From what I could tell, most of them are now electric rather than sporting real candles.
What I hadn't realized, was that this was more of a participatory parade than a spectator parade. Simon and I walked along the sidewalk while the parade streamed down the barricaded streets of Pempelfort. Bands played and children sang traditional St. Martin's day songs. And all along parents and children continued to join the parade. We made it to the front of the parade and found St. Martin himself leading the parade, riding a horse and wearing a red cloak. If only Simon were a little older (and not asleep) to enjoy in the excitement.
Admittedly, because we were not participating it really was not a terribly exciting event. But in some ways it was. It got me to thinking about the time when Simon will enjoy these kinds of things - and the joy it will in turn bring us. I can't wait!
(For a real explanation of St. Martin's Day in Germany, click here.)