The Meaning of Martinmas

Martinmas Lantern Walk

Throughout the year, our school celebrates festivals to connect us with the cycle of nature, establish a yearly rhythm for the children, and strengthen our community. The festival of Martinmas is traditionally celebrated on November 11, between the fiery out breath of Michaelmas and the deep in breath of the winter holidays. It honors, in a universal way, the story of St. Martin, patron saint of beggars and outcasts, who was known for his gentleness and his ability to bring warmth and light to those in need.

The Meaning of Martinmas

From France comes the story of St. Martin, who as a young man passed under an archway of the city of Amiens and discovered a poor beggar huddled there. The man was barely clothed, and shivering with cold. On seeing him, the young Martin took his cape from his own shoulders, tore the garment in half, and covered the poor man to warm him. The following night Martin had a dream in which he saw an angel wearing this same piece of his cape. The experience confirmed in him his devotion to all mankind regardless of their station in life. Martin went on to become patron saint of beggars and outcasts, and was known for his gentleness, his unassuming nature and his ability to bring warmth and light to those in need.

As we journey into the darkest time of the year, it is increasingly important for each of us to kindle warmth and light in our hearts. Martin’s cloak can remind us to share with those in need. The gently glowing lanterns of Martinmas will give way to the candles of the advent spiral as we draw nearer to the Solstice, showing how our inner light must shine ever brighter against the cold. As nature sleeps, we must be wakeful!

Martinmas Lantern Walk

During our annual Martinmas Lantern Walk, children and parents are invited to gather together as the sun sets, carrying handmade lanterns, symbolizing our own individual light.

This is a quiet, meditative celebration. Following the lighting of the lanterns, the children will walk through the park or play yard with their class, singing lantern songs. Parents are asked to walk with their children and to help preserve the mood of the evening by joining in the singing and encouraging the children in reverence and calm.

As you leave the Martinmas Lantern Walk, we encourage you to take the mood of the festival home with you. A quiet ride home, followed by supper and bedtime is ideal.

2016 Lantern Walk Schedule & Songs

Please be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes early to light lanterns and gather with your class. Since this is a quiet, contemplative celebration, please refrain from using flashlights, glow sticks, and cell phones.

Juniper and Maple Preschool:
Wednesday, November 9
Juniper: 4:45 p.m. | Maple: 5:00 p.m.

Willow Kindergarten
Thursday, November 10, 5:30 pm

Birch Kindergarten
Friday, November 11, 5:30 pm

Grades 1-3
Friday, November 11, 5:30 pm

Oak Kindergarten
Thursday, November 17, 5:15 pm

For location information, please refer to the weekly newsletter or class blogs. Below you’ll find some of the songs we’ll be singing together, please have a  listen so you can join in!

The Sunlight Fast is Dwindling (listen here)

The sunlight fast is dwindling.
My little lamp needs kindling.
It’s beam shines far in darkest night,
Dear lantern guard me with your light.

Glimmer, Lantern, Glimmer
Glimmer lantern glimmer, little stars a-shimmer
Over meadow, moor and dale
Flitter-flutter, elfin veil
Pee-wit, pee-wit, tic a tic a tic, roo-coo, roo-coo
Glimmer lantern glimmer, little stars a-shimmer
Over rock and stock and stone
Wander tripping little gnome
Pee-wit, pee-wit, tic a tic a tic, roo-coo, roo-coo
I Go with My Bright Little Lantern
I go with my bright little lantern
My lantern is going with me
In heaven the stars are shining
On Earth shines my lantern with me
My light shines bright, through darkest night
La bimba, la bamba, la bim (repeat last 2 lines)