Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Halloween Freebie

"Top Ten Tuesday" is an original feature/weekly meme created on the blog "The Broke and the Bookish". This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at "The Broke and the Bookish".

It is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl.

Since I am just as fond of them as they are, I jump at the chance to share my lists with them! Have a look at their page, there are lots of other bloggers who share their lists here.

Halloween Freebie

We don't really celebrate Halloween over here though some kids seem to be going around. Also, I'm not into fantasy, science fiction and/or horror stories, so not many recommendations. Instead of coming up with something that I don't really enjoy or have no relation to, I thought I'd tell you a little about our German autumn customs.

First of all, there is the festivity of St. Martin of Tours. There is a legend that he cut his coat in half and shared it with a beggar. Now, he rides on a horse through the villages and the children follow him with their lanterns, often to the church. The lanterns are mostly self-made, either at home or in playgroup/elementary school. You can buy them everywhere but the own ones are so much more fun. When I was little, we had real candles in them and had to be very careful for them not to burn down. Nowadays, you put an electric one in, safer and still the same amount of fun.

But we also used to go out on other nights. People had decorations up and you would go to the houses in the neighbourhood, sing some songs and get sweets as a "reward". So, you might have little visitors all through autumn, as soon as the nights got longer.

One of my favourite artists, Frank Koebsch, has painted two beautiful pictures of this even, one of them I published in my "Happy September" blog from 2018, the other one is from 2011, both of them depict the custom very well.

"Lasst uns Laterne gehen"

And here are some of the songs we used to sing.

Ich geh mit meiner Laterne
Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne
und meine Laterne mit mir.
Da oben leuchten die Sterne
und unten da leuchten wir.
Mein Licht ist aus,
ich geh’ nach Haus.
rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

English translation:
I Walk with My Lantern
I walk with my lantern,
And my lantern with me.
Above, there shine the stars,
And we shine down here.
My light is out,
I go home,
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.
Listen to this song on YouTube

Laterne, Laterne
Laterne, Laterne,
Sonne, Mond und Sterne,
brenne auf mein Licht,
brenne auf mein Licht,
aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht.
English translation:
Lantern, Lantern
Lantern, Lantern,
Sun, moon and stars,
Burn down, my light,
Burn down, my light,
But not my dear lantern.
Listen to this song on YouTube

We would sing the lantern songs at the houses, but here is a song that tells the whole legend and is usually sung when following "St. Martin".

Sankt Martin
Sankt Martin, Sankt Martin,
Sankt Martin ritt durch Schnee und Wind,
Sein Ross, das trug ihn fort geschwind.
Sankt Martin ritt mit leichtem Mut,
Sein Mantel deckt' ihn warm und gut.

Im Schnee saß, im Schnee saß,
Im Schnee, da saß ein armer Mann,
Hat Kleider nicht, hat Lumpen an.
"O helft mir doch in meiner Not,
Sonst ist der bitt're Frost mein Tod!"

Sankt Martin, Sankt Martin,
Sankt Martin zog die Zügel an,
Sein Ross stand still beim armen Mann.
Sankt Martin mit dem Schwerte teilt
Den warmen Mantel unverweilt.

Sankt Martin, Sankt Martin,
Sankt Martin gab den halben still:
Der Bettler rasch ihm danken will
Sankt Martin aber ritt in Eil
Hinweg mit seinem Mantelteil.

Sankt Martin legt sich still zur Ruh,
da tritt im Traum der Herr hinzu.
Der spricht: "Hab Dank, du Reitersmann,
für das, was du an mir getan.
English translation
St. Martin
St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin
St. Martin rode through snow and wind,
His horse carried him quickly away.
St. Martin rode with light courage,
His cloak kept him warm and good warm.

In the snow sat, in the snow sat,
In the snow, there sat a poor man,
He didn't have clothes, he wore only rags:
"Oh help me in my distress,
Otherwise the bitter frost will be my death!"

St. Martin, St. Martin,
St. Martin pulled the reins,
His horse stood still near the poor man,
With his sword St. Martin cut
the warm cloak in half.

St. Martin, St. Martin,
St. Martin quietly gives half,
The beggar's wants to thank him quickly,
But St. Martin was riding away in haste
With half his cloak.

St. Martin lies down quietly to rest,
In a dream the Lord appears.
Who says: "Thank you, horseman,
For what you did to me."
Listen to this song on YouTube


  1. Thank you for telling us about these customs. I have many ancestors from Germany, but I'd never heard about this part of the culture before. Very cool!

    My post.

    1. I think that's normal with many traditions, people somehow assume that it's the same everywhere and never even mention it. I've lived abroad a lot and never came across this anywhere else (doesn't mean it doesn't exist, probably in Switzerland and/or Austria, just not in the countries I lived in). And when I had not idea what to post about Halloween (although I am aware of it due to my American friends and many, many, many US films, LOL), it's not something I grew up with and I thought it might be interesting for others. Looks like it did.

      Thanks for coming here, leaving a message and your link. See you there.

  2. I love sweet traditions like this. I'd definitely give kids sweets if they showed up at my door and sang me a song!

    Happy TTT!

    1. Of course you would. Anyone would. The advantage is also that they don't all come on the same night, so you're not busy the whole evening and nobody minds if you're not home, they'll just come by another time. I have some sweet memories of this.

      Thanks, as always, for your visit.

  3. Thanks for sharing these delightful customs! I’d gladly trade these for Halloween!

    1. LOL, someone else said that, as well. In a way, it's the same, the kids get sweets. But they don't dress up for it, most parts of Germany have carnival for that (though not really in my area, more in the middle and Southern parts). They just make their lanterns and they are beautiful to look at. Plus, it's so cute when the little kids sing the songs.

      Thanks for your visit.

  4. Wow, hat's beautiful! I've heard of St. Martin, but I didn't know about the festival with the lanterns! Is that specific to your town or a general German custom?

    1. I'm glad you liked hearing about it. It's a tradition all over Germany. I'm from the North-West. My husband's from the South and he has the same memories. the pictures you see by the artist, he's from the North-East.

      I just tried to find some information where else they might do it but there isn't anything mentioned. It started as a Catholic tradition (of course, Saint Martin) but nowadays all the kids do it, even the non-Christians. Just a lovely way to prepare for the winter.

      Wikipedia has an article about this called Laternelaufen. But it doesn't tell about the regions. As far as I know, they do it all over Germany.

      Thanks for your visit.

  5. Oooh! St. Martin sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing this!

    Here’s my TTT!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

    1. You're welcome. I thought it would be interesting to some. And I was right, obviously. Glad you liked it.

      Thanks for stepping by and leaving a comment and your link. See you there.

  6. What an absolutely lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing this! I'm always fascinated by traditions outside of my own. I like that this has a very sweet community aspect during autumn, which is a time I usually associate with increased isolation because of weather.

    1. Thank you for such a positive response. One only realizes how nice something is if one shares it with others. I am overwhelmed by the responses.

      It really is a sweet community aspect, we would always go with the children from the neighbourhood and they still do it today.

      We are normally not the ones to decorate our houses, at least we weren't, it has increased in the last decade, I'd say. But we are encouraged this year to do it so kids can walk through the streets and see the houses all with lights in the windows. I love that idea and am already getting enough stuff together to follow this.

      Thanks for your visit.

  7. I enjoyed learning about this custom.

    1. I'm so happy I did this because everyone seems to like it. Glad you did, as well.

      Have a good weekend.