Friends of ours who live had a Martinmas festival at their home. Martinmas is a celebration that has celebrator elements found in both American Halloween and Thanksgiving traditions. It was a perfect night with a full moon and clear skies.
When we arrived fresh apple cider was being pressed from fresh picked apples. Booh and I gathered with other children in our friend’s barn to make lanterns out of glass jars for the lantern parade. Booh painted her jar and said the design was a snake cloud from her imagination. She described it as snakes in a ball. I took strips of colored tissue paper and glued them to the outside of my jar.
Guests placed candles in their lanterns and paraded into the darkness along a path that snaked through their fields, lit with candelabras. We sang “Lantern Songs” and other familiar tunes. After the parade we gathered for a feast of food guests had brought. Traditional goose would have been served, but we brought a rotisserie chicken instead.
After eating we went for a full moon hayride and then gathered around a beautiful bonfire with hay bale seats. We sang more songs and roasted marshmallows. The fire let off burning cinders into the air that Booh calls Fire Fairies.
Booh’s daddy couldn’t come with us, so when we got home she explained what was Martinmas. She said that is was for Martin from Zoobomafoo. Actually, Martinmas is name after St. Martin, the patron saint of beggars, drunkards and outcasts. He was known for his gentleness and hospitality, and his ability to bring warmth and light to those who were previously in darkness.