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 nearly naked, 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. He 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!
Following the lighting of the lanterns, this is a quiet, meditative celebration. The children will walk through the woods along the candle lit path singing lantern songs or simply soaking in the beautiful experience. Parents are asked to walk with their children and to help preserve the mood of the evening and encouraging the children in reverence and calm. Upon our completion of the walk, families can make their way back to their cars.
As you leave this year’s 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. You may like to light your lanterns again at home to enjoy their light, or perhaps enjoy a lantern-lit supper! Let the singing, the sight of the lanterns through the branches, and the joyous mood of the day follow you into you