Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Martinmas - The Memorial of St. Martin of Tours

The girls and I have been learning about St. Martin of Tours yesterday and today. Martinmas, as it is known in many countries, falls on November 11th. The most famous story of St. Martin, who was a Roman soldier turned Christian, is that of his meeting with a beggar on a cold day. We sang this song about St. Martin during our Circle Time yesterday, and then Caroline acted it out with Cecilia's cooperation!

Caroline, playing the part of St. Martin, cuts her cloak in two using her sword

She gives half of the cloak to Cecilia, playing the part of the beggar

The beggar is happy to be warmer now, and Martin rides away on his horse with his remaining half of a cloak

We also sorted through the coat closet yesterday and pulled out old coats and jackets that nobody uses. How we accumulate so many jackets and sweaters, I do not know! We filled a bag to donate, in the example of St. Martin. Then Caroline put on her own winter hat, and put one on Cecilia as well, because St. Martin must hgave been dressed warmly, she thought! They acted out the St. Martin story - complete with the part where he sees Jesus in a dream telling him that when he clothed the beggar, he was actually clothing Jesus himself - over and over all morning!

For a craft activity, we made lanterns, which is done traditionally in parts of Europe for Martinmas - not sure exactly why, except that winter is right around the corner with its short daylight hours. I made a simple one for Cecilia with some star punches around the edges, and then for Caroline, I traced this image of Martin and the beggar on white tissue paper and put it in as a window in her lantern. She and I colored it gently using crayons. Then I attached the edges, taped on a circle base, and hot glued tealight candles in the bottom. I found the basic idea at Under Her Starry Mantle, along with the song lyrics to the St. Martin song - Anne's blog is a wonderful resource!

Here's Caroline's completed lantern - she did a pretty good job coloring the image considering she doesn't color lined drawings very often!

And she drew her own picture of St. Martin on his horse on the other side

Cecilia liked holding her lantern and carrying it around (unlit, of course!). She had colored the other side of it which isn't visible in this picture.

For a snack and dessert, we had St. Martin's Horseshoe Cookies. I had found this recipe last year and saved it for the future... it was very easy and is relatively healthy - well, aside from the pound of butter, that is!

St. Martin's Horseshoes

1 cup butter
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 cup ground unblanched almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract

Cream butter and sugar (Sucanat works fine!). Add other ingredients and mix. Using fingers, form into horseshoe shapes, about three-four inches long before bending them into shape. Bake at 300 degrees for about a half-hour. Roll in powdered sugar.

Yummy!! So good with hot tea!

Caroline didn't like them... but Cecilia did. I gave the girls cookies that hadn't been dipped in the powdered sugar (Caroline had already had a cupcake at MMO and a piece of Halloween candy, so I was tryingto limit the sugar!)... but she can try one with powdered sugar tomorrow and will maybe like that better.

When they are a bit older, it would be fun to do an evening lantern walk around the yard. For now, the lanterns make a nice centerpiece. It will be neat to add to our homemade lantern collection in coming years - if I can find a place to store them, that is! ;)

A blessed memorial of St. Martin to everyone!
(just for you, Tim, I didn't refer to it as a "feast day!")

No comments: