10 November 2010

November elebenty, children yelling out of key

St Maarten, Martinmas

Tomorrow is St Maarten here in some parts of the Netherlands. It’s an ancient Catholic tradition based on the patron Saint of poverty…
This is a small piece from the Wiki page… the whole page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Martin%27s_Day ) is recommended reading, but this gives you some pointers as to why we allow our children to go begging past the doors on the eleventh of November.

The feast day, is November 11, the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, who started out as a Roman soldier. He was baptized as an adult and became a monk. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The most famous legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of the cold. That night he dreamed that Jesus was wearing the half-cloak Martin had given away. Martin heard Jesus say to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptised; he has clothed me." [1]

So we let our children make “lampions” (paper lanterns) and send them out into the streets to sing for sweets, like trick or treating or caroling. Off course most songs start out sweet and innocent but as the kids start to get older the songs are mutated into vulgar and puerile disharmonies. Which is why most kids are not allowed to go past the doors once they are beyond the age of eleven.

It’s not hard to imagine that yelling out of key in order to receive bags full of sweets is something most Dutch remember fondly so St. Maarten in many parts of the Netherlands is actually a big thing.

As my gift to you, I will add two of my own doodles related to this feast of Saint Maarten… I do however assume you will sing me a sing Maarten song after reading this post.

1 comment:

  1. sint maarten sint maarten the cows have tails, the mice are wearing skirts, there comes sint maarten............

    I like it more in Dutch