Sunday, November 14, 2010

Celebrating the Feast of St. Martin of Tours

We really love the feast of St. Martin! Last year when we read the story of St. Martin sharing his cloak with the poor beggar, the girls became very interested in this saint and he seems to have become one of their favorites. In fact, after his feast last year, Cecilia sang the "St. Martin, St. Martin" song for months - literally - even though she was only 21 months old on last year's "Martinmas," as the day came to be known in Europe.

We baked St. Martin's Horseshoe Cookies together... an easy, yummy almond shortbread recipe that the link claims is Polish in origin. I'm a quarter Polish myself.

Ready to put them in the oven...

Next, we made a craft: St. Martin's Day lanterns. Last year, we made them from paper. This year, the girls covered empty glass jars with pieces of tissue paper.

Caroline puts hers together, and then we left them to dry...

...and the girls took turns acting out the story of St. Martin and the beggar, just as they did last year. Caroline really likes to do this! Here she is as St. Martin on horseback, cutting her cloak in half with her "sword," and...

...handing it to me (the beggar).

Then Cecilia played the role of God, who later that night appeared to St. Martin in a dream, wearing the half of the cloak that God gave to the beggar. I told Caroline that when we do nice things for other people, we are really doing them for God too, because it makes him happy.

Cecilia takes her turn as St. Martin...

Caroline colored and cut out these St. Martin and the Beggar paper dolls from Paper Dali.

The finished product: the cloak on the beggar has tabs so it can be put on and taken off, so children can use the paper dolls to act out the story.

Caroline dips the cooled horseshoe cookies into powdered sugar to finish them...

...and here they are!

A yummy afternoon snack!

That night at dinner, we lit the lanterns from last year along with the new ones. I think it will be fun to make a different style lantern each year and have a collection of them to take out and light on this day! For the glass jar lanterns, I tightly wound wire around the mouth of each jar and then also formed a long handle.

Cecilia admires her new lantern alongside last year's...

We took the lanterns out on the front porch just before dinner. In many countries, goose is traditionally eaten on this day (because legend says a flock of geese gave away St. Martin's hiding spot by honking loudly). Goose is rare and expensive around here, so we had chicken cacciatore!

The girls also enjoyed singing this song all day long! You can see in the baking photos how the laptop was on the stove, playing the St. Martin song as we made the cookies!

Happy Martinmas Day!!


johnston5in5 said...

What is the St. Martin song? I forgot this one this year and after reading your blog last year, I really wanted to do it, so maybe we'll celebrate late. I have got to get all these on a calendar!!

Erin said...

Here's a link to the words:

And the youtube video of the song being sung is linked to in the blog post. I need that, because there's no way I could tell what the tune should sound like just w/ the sheet music alone, ha ha!

Vee said...

These are such cute pictures ... and I'm stumbling across them completely out of sync with the liturgical year. But they will come in most helpful later this year.

I'm glad you enjoyed the paper dolls from Paper Dali, too. Would you mind if I use a photo for my blog of your gal coloring my St. Martin picture? Let me know. I'm at

Blessings galore,

Alyss said...

I linked to this awesome post on my own blog. What a lovely post you've put together. I especially love the photos of your girls playing out the Martinmas story :)

Hope this year is just as great!