This being the feast day of Martin of Tours (c. 316-397).
St. Martin is most remembered (and depicted) for his act of cutting his cloak in two, to share with a poor beggar in Amiens. Christ was said to have later appeared to St. Martin in a dream wearing the portion of the cloak he had given away.
Martinmas appears to be celebrated particularly within the Waldorf community and includes the making of lanterns and ‘lantern walks’ amongst other activities and observances. This being our first Martinmas we attempted to discover a little more about the festival.
The significance of the lanterns (According to All Year Round; A Calendar of Celebrations – Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes Clinton and Marije Rowling) is attributed to St. Martin recognising “the divine spark in the poor man of Amiens and giving it the protection of his cloak”. In a similar way the lanterns are said to “give protection to our own little flame, to be carried safely through the dark world”.
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (David Hugh Farmer) mentions the window at St. Martin’s Church, York (15th Century) as being the most complete stained glass representation of St. Martin in England.
We paid a visit to view the window on St. Martin’s feast day, 11th November.
Front view of the church
St Martin depicted rescuing a hare from the hounds
Some of the children’s lanterns
This beeswax lantern was made by dipping a water-filled balloon into beeswax. We used a felt leaf to decorate. I’d particularly recommend this tutorial by Morning Sun Rae.
Transparent paper and glass jar lanterns
Tutorial for the glass lanterns here at Making Life