Thursday, November 9, 2017

Celebrating Martinmas {11/11}

I'm a big fan of focusing on the holidays that occur within a specific month and celebrating them.  I typically decorate only for the holidays that happen within the month, you won't find me putting out my Halloween decoration in September and I try really hard each year not to decorate for Christmas right after Thanksgiving.  This is often foiled by my husband's desire to get our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We've come to an agreement that the tree can come into the house, but no other decorations can go up.  And, in our previous home, I had a "holiday/season" table, which was decorated each month with little items to celebrate the season or holiday(s) for that month.  I like staying present.  This is one way I attempt to do that. 

Anyway, back to Martinmas - you may be asking yourself, what?  That's totally fine, and I understand.  A few years back I stumbled upon this amazing book called Sarah Ban Breathnach's Mrs. Sharp's Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort & Joy. Oh, how I love this book!  I just finished reading The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally Clarkson where she speaks on the importance of creating traditions. 

Martinmas celebrates St. Martin of Tours and is a very old European winter celebration.  You can read more about St. Martin here.  In many European countries (Germany and Holland, specifically), Martinmas is celebrated with a festival of lanterns.  The lanterns symbolize the light of generosity that illuminates the darkness of lack.  Though we donate clothing all year long, I make an effort to have each of my children go through all of their clothing close to November 11th and donate items that no longer fit them or items they no longer like, focusing on winter clothing.  I then make a trip to the thrift store to donate those items.  I also go out an purchase new winter hats & gloves for each of my children to give to them on November 11th, which will help to keep them warm.



We have lanterns which we use every year.  These were made years ago out of old mason jars by covering them with torn pieces of tissue paper.  We put a flameless candle in each one and enjoy their beauty.  We come together as a family on the night of Martinmas and eat a hearty winter dish such as stew or a thick soup. 

It's fun and easy and it helps to foster a giving spirit in your children.       


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