Today's travel tuesday prompt is:
– Festivals and Celebrations –

The first festival we ever encountered in Germany was the Laternenumzug/laternenlauf in Nov. 2012, if I remember correctly, it happened to be Avi's 3rd birthday and since we were new to the city we decided to attend. After all, it ended with fireworks! 

I had been seeing the signs all over the city that it would be "open for business Sunday" (Verkausoffener Sonntag) and that the big Harburg lantern parade would take place after the stores closed. Everyone who wanted to participate would meet at the Harburg Rathaus and from there we would take off. 

There was a various number of marching bands from different starting points, I video taped quite a few of them since they reminded me of a high school marching band (my sister had just joined one back in the states)..  and we marched around Harburg and finished at the Schwarzenberg, in front of the university. 

Now, you may be asking yourself what the heck is laternenumzug?

It is a way to remember St Martin, it is celebrated  on November 11th, with a lantern parade where the kids carry around their lit lanterns (homemade or store bought) and accompanied by their parents march through the streets while singing traditional songs.

The more I attended these laternenumzugs, the more I learned the songs, and I noticed that what Avi is singing in the video is not the right lyrics!! Some of the most famous songs to sing during this parade are: Laterne Laterne and Ich geh’ mit meine Laterne. It also helps that the second time we attended (through Avi's kita) they gave us a copy of the lyrics of the songs we would be singing!. 

Originally Martinstag was celebrated in the Catholic areas of Germany and Austria but it has now spread to the more Protestant areas as well. It heralds the start of the Advent season; followed by Nikolaustag (dec 6), Weihnachten (dec 24), and Dreikonigstag (jan 6).  Two of the most famous legends of St. Martin are “Martin and his cloak” and “Martin and the geese”.

Martin and His Cloak

One snowy winter evening, Martin and the other soldiers were returning on horseback to Amiens. At the city gate sat a beggar, so cold in his ragged clothing that he could not even ask for help. Martin did not have any money or food to give him, so he took his Martinstag sword and cut in half his heavy red soldier’s cloak. That night Martin dreamed of Jesus Christ. In the dream, Christ thanked him for giving Him his cloak. This dream convinced Martin to become a Christian and be baptized.

Martin and the Geese

Martin did not want to become Bishop, so he hid near some geese. The people searching for Martin heard the loudly cackling geese. They found Martin and ordained him Bishop of Tours.

Do you have any special festivals or events from your home country or where you live now? Link up with AmandaBonnie, Caity, Marcella, and Michelle for Travel Tuesday.

On Another note, I would like to point out that May 5th is not a real Mexican holiday but carry on with all the parties, just remember that is is not Mexico's Independence Day. ☺


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