Laternenfest in Vancouver 2022

Boy with lantern

November 6th, 2022 in Vancouver, BC – The Vancouver Westside German School and the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church are inviting the members of the German Community, the members of the St. Mark’s Church, the German Canadian Care Home and the East Vancouver German School to join them on November 8th at 4:30 pm at the St. Mark’s Church at 1573 East 18th Avenue in Vancouver.

Look forward to the lantern competition showcasing the most beautiful latern. After a St. Martin’s play in the church basement, you and your children will be able to carry your lanterns through the streets singing German lantern songs with the help of a musician. Afterwards there will be traditional “Weckmänner”. Don’t miss this great event in German tradition.

They will be selling cake and German & English books.

Vancouver German School contact details:

St. Mark’s Church contact details:

About a Lantern Festival

Martinstag is named after St. Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who became a monk after being baptised as an adult. He was eventually made a saint by the Catholic Church for being a kind man who cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm.

What do the lanterns mean?

In many parts of Germany it is traditional for children to participate in a procession of paper lanterns in remembrance of St. Martin. They make their own little lanterns in school or kindergarten and then gather on city streets to sing songs about good old Marty and their lanterns. Often a man dressed as St. Martin with a long red cloak leads the parade on horseback.

So this is actually a big deal then?

It’s officially a Catholic holiday, but in recent years the lantern processions have become widespread even in Protestant areas of Germany. So just like Santa Claus has little to do with the birth of Christ, these days St. Martin Day’s is probably better known for the luminous procession than the saintly history.

So what do I do on St. Martin’s Day?

If you have kids, you’ll probably spend the evening outside with a bunch of other parents and their children. Most German Schools use battery operated tea candles that won’t catch fire and burn down the lanterns.

What do I do if I don’t have children? Is there anything else to it?

Like most holidays, St. Martin’s Day is also about eating food. The traditional victuals are goose with red cabbage and dumplings.

Yummy! But why goose?

According to legend, Martin was reluctant to become a bishop as an honour for all his good deeds, so he hid in a stable filled with geese to escape from Church officials. Martin might have been a very kind and gentle man, but he apparently wasn’t the smartest. Otherwise he would have considered a better hiding place than a pen filled with gabbling geese – who ended up giving away his location.

And the geese had to pay for that?

Perhaps, but the more likely reason is that November 11 is the beginning of Advent fasting and hardcore Catholics get a last chance to feast before they abstain from greasy food and booze until Christmas.

The lanterns come in all shapes, sizes and colors and there are wonderful resources on Pinterest for making your own.

Here are some links:

elke porter
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